Sunday, January 26

Research discovers mobile home parks lack access to quality water service

UCLA researchers in the Luskin School of Public Affairs published a study in October that found mobile home parks in California are vulnerable to poor water quality and lack of access to water. (Daily Bruin file photo)

UCLA researchers in the Luskin School of Public Affairs found that mobile home parks in California receive inadequate, poor-quality water service.

In a study published in October, Gregory Pierce, an adjunct assistant professor in urban planning, and Silvia Gonzalez, a doctoral student in urban planning, assessed drinking water quality and access in mobile home parks in California.

Pierce said they chose to focus on mobile home parks because he and Gonzalez think they are an understudied but large portion of California’s population. Mobile home park water systems comprise 13 percent of all state systems, according to the study.

He said they used public sources and databases to compile data on factors such as the affordability and reliability of mobile home water sources and their compliance with water quality and access laws. Pierce added they also performed content analysis of news articles to determine common causes of water access and quality problems.

The study found that mobile home parks are more likely than the general population to experience water service shut-offs for more than 24 hours, rely on groundwater and incur more health-related violations.

Pierce said mobile home parks tend to be served by small water systems that are poorly managed by mobile home park managers or landlords. Landlords failing to pay water bills or neglecting water maintenance often led to most of the water access and quality problems within communities, he said.

Pierce said he thinks one way to address water accessibility issues is to consolidate mobile home park water systems. He added he thinks the California Department of Housing and Community Development should pay more attention to the issue.

“They should be eligible for the same quality upgrading programs other small systems are,” Pierce said.

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Enterprise editor

Wang is the Enterprise editor. She was the News editor last year and an assistant News editor for the Features & Student Life beat the year before that. She is a fourth-year economics and communications student.

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  • Jim Safranek

    Can a link to the study be provided? Depending on the size/ connections, these ‘small systems’ are typically regulated by County Health departments or the SWRCB Drinking Water Program. The residents of these MH parks need better access to complaint filing with the correct regulatory agency (state or local); I think it’s unlikely State Housing would take an interest. I can imagine a student project that takes the data from this study and implements an educational advocacy project that targets mobile home associations with the worst water conditions, and informs them as to their rights as consumers of a regulated resource. They’d probably appreciate this type of effort. A grad project on a silver plate for a motivated student.