Episode 1: Heart of the Drought

Kiran meets Tom Steyer, who sends her to the Central Valley to meet Californians who are facing a major injustice – they've run out of water.

Community Water Center

Community Water Center is working collaboratively to ensure residents with dry wells receive adequate emergency assistance, and that communities are organized to advocate for lasting solutions.

“Nothing could really prepare me for the Mad Max feeling I get here. Trucks are bringing water from the west side of Porterville to the east side, and people have reportedly attacked the drivers in fear that they’re going to lose their water supply.” —Kiran

For many California residents, the drought is fleeting; while they understand the scope of the problem, it’s also not something that impacts their daily lives.

For our host Kiran, visiting drought-stricken communities in the Central Valley was a huge wake-up call.

She learns, in the midst of an historic drought, that some poor and working class communities live day-to-day without ready access to fresh water. Many rely on “water angels” like Donna Johnson to deliver enough to get by, but there is a disturbing lack of long-term solutions.


In East Porterville alone, more than half of the city’s residents struggle to find fresh water. That’s more than 3,000 people—including young children—who can’t turn on their taps, do laundry, wash their dishes, or even shower.

This isn’t Fury Road. It’s California. This isn’t the way it should be.

Join Kiran as she speaks with folks whose lives have been turned upside down by the drought and introduces us to the inspiring people who are making a difference.

At the end of episode one, Tom Steyer reminds us that we can all take action to help the communities impacted by the drought.  Community Water Center, founded in 2006, works with Central Valley communities toward practical solutions to 21st century water challenges in California. Please take a moment to visit the Community Water Center‘s website to see how you can support their mission to act “as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California’s San Joaquin Valley” and provide logistical aid to low-income communities struggling with access to fresh water supplies.

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Bonus Content


Matthew Heberger of Pacific Institute

Heberger explains to Kiran why El Niño won't solve the California drought.

More Episodes

Episode 2 02.02.2016

Water & Oil

Kiran visits the Central Valley's Cawelo Water District where the drought is causing farmers to use water produced in the oil drilling process to irrigate their crops. She takes in the smells so you don't have to.

Episode 3 02.09.2016

In Our Air

Kiran returns home to Los Angeles to investigate the hidden costs of pollution. Spoiler alert: we pay for it! 3.3 million Californians have asthma, and nowhere is pollution more rampant than in low-income communities.

Episode 4 02.16.2016

At the Pump

​Kiran tries to uncover ​where her gas money went. In 2015, Californians paid billions more for gasoline than the rest of the country. At the same time, oil companies reported record profits. ​ Slick.

Episode 5 02.23.2016

In the Future

Kiran discovers what's working in California today, despite hundreds of millions of dollars in resistance ​from the oil and gas industry.