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Why California's Poorest Towns Still Can't Connect to Water

In the dried-out San Joaquin Valley, consolidating water systems brings out ugly politics.
A man hauls boxes of bottled water into his home on the outskirts of Tulare, California.
A man hauls boxes of bottled water into his home on the outskirts of Tulare, California.AP Photo/Gregory Bull

Editor’s note: This story is part two of a three-part series on the future of the San Joaquin Valley’s unincorporated communities. Read parts one and three.

FRESNO, Calif.—In Matheny Tract, California, the sour odor of sewage is especially strong in the morning—and so is the irony that residents can’t connect to the system it represents.