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Contaminated Water on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation

Fellowship Story Showcase

Contaminated Water on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation

Picture of Terria  Smith

For the past ten years, the 180 tribal members who live on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation in Southern California have been without safe drinking water. Terria Smith reported this story for the FNX First Nations Experience Network as a 2013 California Endowment Health Journalism Fellow.

Thursday, August 29, 2013

This news segment is an FNX NOW special report about drinking water conditions on the Torres Martinez Desert Cahuilla Indian Reservation in Southern California. For the past ten years, the 180 tribal members who live on the reservation have been without safe drinking water.

Half of the reservation has water levels of arsenic that exceed both state and federal EPA levels. The rest of the water supply on the reservation has levels of perchlorate that exceed state standards; however, no federal standards exist at this time.

The story explores some of the challenges the tribal government faces including providing its members with clean drinking water, finding funding for water and sewage infrastructure and seeking accountability.