Engaging Disadvantaged Communities in Resource Management

Building upon evaluation efforts to support the effective design and implementation of environmental justice programs, the Luskin Center provided a Graduate Reseach Grant to Miriam Torres for the study Engaging Disadvantaged Communities in Resource Management: a Case Study Evaluation of a Planning Process in the Cities of Compton and Lynwood.  

Water planning and management has historically been a technocratic endeavor implemented by large agencies, often with minimal public participation. To address this issue, the State of California mandates public participationin water planning and management processes receiving public funds. Proposition 84 led to legislation requiring disadvantaged community (DAC) participation in the Integrated Regional Water Management Plan (IRWM) program. Despite these efforts, the number of State-funded projects in DACs is disproportionately low. This study is an evaluation of a planning process implemented with DACs in the City of Compton and the City of Lynwood to develop projects that meet IRWM guidelines. We employ a “value-engaged” evaluation approach, grounded on inclusionary principles to define effective engagement of DACs in resource management and planning. Based on our evaluation, we conclude with a set of recommendations for engaging urban disadvantaged communities in water management and planning processes.