DALLAS – Some residents in the small Dallas County community of Sandbranch say they are optimistic about the possibility of one day having access to water and sanitation services.
A meeting of several government agencies is making that possibility seem more viable.
A large group of community members gathered in downtown Dallas on Tuesday, holding signs and singing songs. They were bringing attention to the longtime water worries of Sandbranch in the big city.
Audrey Mohammad traveled from Flint, Michigan -- still reeling from its own water crisis -- to support the crowd.
“They don’t have safe clean water to drink,” Mohammad said as she stood with the crowd. “I mean, water is a human right!”
The demonstration happened steps away from the Dallas County Administration Building. That is where representatives from state, federal, and local agencies met.
Dallas County Judge Clay Jenkins and Ron Curry with the Environmental Protection Agency hosted the meeting. The purpose was for the groups to come up with options to give the residents of Sandbranch access to drinking water and sanitation services.
"When you've got people without running drinking water in their taps, you want to get this fixed, yesterday," Jenkins said.
Sandbranch is in a flood plain. Getting water to the poor, unincorporated community could cost millions of dollars. Agencies talked about ways to fund the project, and strategies to implement it.
"I think, for the first time, the community has a support system that is outside of the community now,” said Pastor Eugene Keahey of the Mount Zion Missionary Baptist Church of Sandbranch.
He attended the meeting with the church’s attorney, Mark McPherson. They said there seems to be a lot of positive momentum focused on Sandbranch.
But there remains a lot of work, and not just to secure clean water.
Governmental leaders are also looking into possibly funding improvements to some of the homes in the community.
"The message to the people in Sandbranch is, we are trying," Curry said at the conclusion of the meeting, "and there's a lot of people trying."