Water Leaders Program Gives Big-Picture View of California, Informative Tours and Invaluable Contacts
The Dec. 5 deadline to apply for the 2018 Class is fast approaching
Fun, friendship, invaluable contacts, exposure to different viewpoints, informative tours, core knowledge and a big-picture view of California water. These are some of the things past Water Leaders say they have gained from our yearlong program for early or mid-career professionals.
Alums include Newsha Ajami, director of Urban Water Policy at Stanford University’s Water in the West; Jessica Pearson, executive officer of the Delta Stewardship Council; Martha Guzman Aceves, a member of the California Public Utilities Commission and Chris Scheuring, managing counsel for national resources at the California Farm Bureau Federation.
You can read about their experiences with the program here.
Now entering in its 22nd year, the Water Leaders program gets you 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, or meeting with your assigned mentor.
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.
Mentors are tops in their field whether they are water managers, farmers, scientists, lawyers, environmentalists or policymakers.
In the last few years, mentors have included two former California natural resources secretaries, Lester Snow and Mike Chrisman. Other mentors included Felicia Marcus, chair of the State Water Resources Control Board, Cannon Michael, president of Bowles Farming, Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of Metropolitan Water District, Kate Poole, senior attorney with the Natural Resources Defense Council and members of the California Water Commission, including Joe Del Bosque, Dave Orth, Joe Byrne and Armando Quintero.
Another key component of the program is our popular water tours to see issues up close.
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.
Send any questions about the class or applications to Kasey Chong, the Foundation’s executive assistant.