Since 2015, under Gregory Pierce’s leadership, the water program within the UCLA Luskin Center for Innovation has grown from a single staff researcher to a team of 15+ research staff and students. The team conducts a consistent stream of timely research which supports a broad set of Human Right to Water efforts – ensuring the right to safe, clean, affordable and accessible water for all. This work has focused on California, given its unique legal recognition of a Human Right to Water since 2012. Notably, our work with the California State Water Board has guided an action plan to provide safe drinking water for all Californians and a plan for the first state-wide low-income water rate assistance program in the nation.
The Human Right to Water Solutions Lab builds on the broader aims of the Luskin Center for Innovation to share evidence with community leaders and policymakers, who in turn use our research to effect environmental equity. The launching of the lab in 2022 reflects a recognition of the growing scale and opportunity to expand solutions-oriented water equity work with on- and off- campus partners in new ways. It also reflects the extension of this work beyond California to support a model of effecting environmental innovation and equity that is relevant across the nation.