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  1. Free, publicly-accessible full text available June 1, 2023
  2. Free, publicly-accessible full text available May 1, 2023
  3. Since the late 1970s, the term “colonias” (in English) has described low-income, peri-urban, and rural subdivisions north of the U.S.-Mexico border. These communities are in arid and semi-arid regions—now in a megadrought—and tend to have limited basic infrastructure, including community water service and sanitation. Recent scholarship has demonstrated how colonias residents experience unjust and inequitable dynamics that produce water insecurity in the Global North. In this review, we explain why U.S. colonias are an important example for theorizing water insecurity in the United States and beyond in the Global North. Tracing the history of water infrastructure development in U.S. colonias, we show how colonias are legally and socially defined by water insecurity. We draw on the published literature to discuss key factors that produce water insecurity in U.S. colonias: political exclusion, municipal underbounding, and failures in water quality monitoring. We show that water insecurity had led to negative outcomes—including poor water access, risks to physical health, and mental ill-health—in U.S. colonias. We present four possible approaches to improving water security in U.S. colonias: (1) soft paths & social infrastructure for water delivery, (2) decentralized water treatment approaches, such as point-of-use, point-of-entry, and fit-for-purpose systems; (3) informality, including infrastructural, economic, andmore »socio-cultural innovations; and (4) political, policy, and law innovations and reforms. At the same time, we reflect seriously on how water security can be ethically achieved in partnership and aligning with the visions of U.S. colonias residents themselves.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 22, 2023
  4. Assumptions of trust in water systems are widespread in higher-income countries, often linked to expectations of “modern water.” The current literature on water and trust also tends to reinforce a technoscientific approach, emphasizing the importance of aligning water user perceptions with expert assessments. Although such approaches can be useful to document instances of distrust, they often fail to explain why patterns differ over time, and across contexts and populations. Addressing these shortcomings, we offer a relational approach focused on the trustworthiness of hydro-social systems to contextualize water-trust dynamics in relation to broader practices and contexts. In doing so, we investigate three high-profile water crises in North America where examples of distrust are prevalent: Flint, Michigan; Kashechewan First Nation; and the Navajo Nation. Through our theoretical and empirical examination, we offer insights on these dynamics and find that distrust may at times be a warranted and understandable response to experiences of water insecurity and injustice. We examine the interconnected experiences of marginality and inequity, ontological and epistemological injustice, unequal governance and politics, and histories of water insecurity and harm as potential contributors to untrustworthiness in hydro-social systems. We close with recommendations for future directions to better understand water-trust dynamics and addressmore »water insecurity.« less
    Free, publicly-accessible full text available April 1, 2023
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