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KERA's One Crisis Away project focuses on North Texans living on the financial edge.

Meet The Attorney Working To Bring Running Water To A Dallas Community

Courtney Collins
KERA news
Mark McPherson specializes in environmental law and is working with Sandbranch pro bono.

The Dallas County community where about 100 people live without running water or sewer service has been approved to operate a water supply corporation-- a step toward bringing services there.

Many have tried, and failed, to bring water to Sandbranch. This time around, the community has an advocate: Dallas attorney Mark McPherson has volunteered his time and expertise.

Interview Highlights: Mark McPherson On…

…why he took this case pro bono: “The first time I was ever in Sandbranch was Feb. 29, and I was taken aback by what I saw. I couldn’t believe that those conditions could happen in the United States, much less in Dallas, Texas. Sandbranch needed its own voice, it needed its own expertise. I have such a unique, niche practice and for me to be in a place where my expertise is the one that’s needed, was just a divine coincidence.”

…how far along Sandbranch is: “We’re going to use a little bit of a different process than has been used in the past. There have been other efforts, of course, to try to bring these services to Sandbranch but they’ve never gotten across the finish line. In this instance we have the United States Department of Agriculture that’s really stepped up and said it is one of our highest priorities in the United States to get water and sewer to Sandbranch. They’re going to provide a grant for engineering services to design the system and then put a cost on that system. From there the USDA will then in phase 2 fund the actual system and put the physical system in the ground, both water and sewer.”

Courtney Collins has been working as a broadcast journalist since graduating from the Medill School of Journalism at Northwestern University in 2004. Before coming to KERA in 2011, Courtney worked as a reporter for NPR member station WAMU in Washington D.C. While there she covered daily news and reported for the station’s weekly news magazine, Metro Connection.