Apply for the 2020 Water Leaders Class by Dec. 9
Program Gives Big-Picture View of California Water, Informative Tours and Invaluable Contacts
Applications for one of our most popular programs, Water Leaders, are available for the 2020 class. The deadline is Dec. 9 at 5 p.m.
Launched in 1997 and now led by Executive Director Jennifer Bowles, the Water Leaders program is a competitive, one-year class designed for early to mid-career, up-and-coming community leaders from diverse backgrounds. Class members deepen their water knowledge and enhance their leadership skills through the program.
During the year, class members get out of the office and into the field — whether it’s on one of our water tours to the Delta or the lower Colorado River. They also meet with an assigned mentor and work with their classmates on developing policy recommendations for a challenging water issue in California.
Mentors Play Key Role
Mentors play an important role in the program as they conduct a shadow day with class members and help to shape ideas for the class project on a key water topic. The project is turned into a report with policy recommendations that is presented to the Water Education Foundation’s Board of Directors toward the end of the year.
In the last few years, mentors have included two former California natural resources secretaries, Lester Snow and Mike Chrisman. Other mentors have included Karla Nemeth, director of the California Department of Water Resources; Joaquin Esquivel, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board; Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming; Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Kate Poole, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council; and Kim Delfino, California director for Defenders of Wildlife.
Going on Tour, Attending Water Summit and Water 101
Our tours give a firsthand look at the water facilities, rivers and regions critical in the debate about the future of water resources. Issues of water supply, water quality, environmental restoration, flood management, groundwater and water conservation are addressed by a wide range of speakers representing different viewpoints.
During our tours, we visit key infrastructure such as dams and reservoirs, including Hoover Dam and Shasta Dam. We talk to farmers by their crops and wildlife managers at refuges. We’ve taste tested freshly desalted ocean water and watched efforts to restore salmon runs.
Get an Application
Click on our main Water Leaders web page, where you can get tips on applying and download an application that you can fill out on your computer or print out. Tuition for the year is $4,250, and includes admission to tours, workshops and conferences. Travel to those event is not included.
Kasey Chong is the Foundation’s coordinator for this program and you can ask him questions via email.
There is a limited amount of scholarship funding available to those with financial need. A written statement of that need is required.
New for the 2020 class, the Association of California Water Agencies is offering a fellowship named for John Fraser, ACWA’s former executive director, that will cover the tuition and some travel expenses for someone who works for an ACWA member agency. You must first be accepted into the Foundation’s program before being eligible for the fellowship. Get more details here.