Youth attending high school in a colonia of the U.S.-Mexico border presented their findings to the academic community and local leaders, as community researchers. The research discovers the water issues students observed in their communities with implications of future investment in rural development. The students examined the complexity of water as a socio-environmental issue, drawing connections between: access to water, public health and wellness, education, citizenship, infrastructure, and development. Presentations include student observations of infrastructure needs, the impact of access to water on community and individual development, and some of the barriers for engaging in local decision making. This work presents implications for future research and policy making.