Video Synopsis

Your tap water is unsafe to drink, the local well is contaminated and buying bottled water drains away one fourth of your monthly income.  Sadly, this nightmare is a daily reality for hundreds of thousands of Californians. In Thirsty for Justice, we visit communities in the Central and Salinas Valleys, where groundwater has been contaminated by agricultural run-off. In urban Los Angeles County, we meet local residents who are facing off against mutual water companies over contaminated water and unaccountable power.  We learn about the unique challenges facing access to water and sanitation for those who are homeless, and the threats to tribal cultures when denied access to their sacred waters. These stories demand our attention and urgent action. Fortunately, a recent victory in Sacramento can help us navigate the challenging road ahead.  Thirsty for Justice tells the inspiring story of the grassroots movement to pass the Human Right to Water Act (AB685), highlights next steps for implementation, and calls for active civic engagement in water policy from your local watershed and water district to the state and national level. As we confront the challenges of drought in a changing climate, contaminated and overdrawn aquifers, aging infrastructure and unaccountable governance, we are reminded that no one in California should take clean affordable water for granted. The human right to water can serve as our moral compass, leading us toward fairness, respect for human dignity and care for the natural systems that sustain us all. Now it’s up to us to make that right a reality.

About the Title

The title “Thirsty for Justice” is used with the express permission of the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water.  It is taken from EJCW’s publication:
Thirsty for Justice: A People’s Blueprint for California Water


Catarina de Albuquerque, UN Special Rapporteur on the human right to water & sanitation
Susana de Anda, Community Water Center
Roxanna Altholz, International Human Rights Law Clinic, U.C. Berkeley School of Law
Horacio Amezquita, San Jerardo Cooperative
Colin Bailey, Environmental Justice Coalition for Water
Tim Buckley, Safe Ground
Mark Carlson, Lutheran Office of Public Policy – California
Michael Cahn, University of California, Division of Agriculture and Natural Resources
Assemblymember Mike Eng, Monterey Park (2002-2012)
Laurel Firestone, Community Water Center
Harold Goldstein, CA Center for Public Health Advocacy
Vern Goehring, Food & Water Watch
Thomas Harter, UC Davis, Coopertative Extension Groundwater Hydrologist
Maria Herrera, Community Water Center
Patricia Jones, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Chris Kemper, Stone Corral School
Sonia Lopez, San Jerardo Cooperative
Shelley Moskowitz, Unitarian Universalist Service Committee
Josephine Nieto,
Committee for a Better Seville
Jeanette Pantoja, California Rural Legal Assistance
Becky Quintana, Committee for a Better Seville
Rev. Lindi Ramsden, Unitarian Universalist Minister
Betsy Reifsnider, Catholic Charities – Stockton Diocese
Chief Caleen Sisk, Winnemem Wintu Tribe


Produced and directed by

Rev. Lindi Ramsden
Ian Slattery

Editor / Camera

Ian Slattery

Additional Camera

Colin Reeves-Fortney
Colin Bailey
Anna Andrews

Production Assistants

Meredith Graham
Susan Weaver


Davis Bynum
Alicia Zonis
Judy Farris
Deborah Pembrook
Kathy Smith
Ben Ramsden-Stein
Alec Harootunian

Web Design

Tabari Lucas

Special thanks:

Roxanna Alholtz
Hector Alvarado
Karen Araujo
Colin Bailey
Ervin Barrios
Beverley Schmidkunz Boido
Brown Miller Communications, Inc.
Rev. John Buehrens
Jennifer Clary
Patrice Curtis
Allison Davenport
Mary Helen Doherty
Reynold Esquivel
Conner Everts
Judy Farris
Rodrigo Garcia

Maria Herrera
Evan Junker
Rev. Earl Koteen
Mike Miller
Bruce Moulton
Deborah Pembrook
Nancy Price
Rev. Dr. William Schulz
Gaylord “Smitty” Smith
Kathy Smith
Abigail Solis
Rev. Sonya Sukalski
Jane Wagner-Tyack
Susan Weaver
James Witker
Javier Zamora