Foundation News

Find out what the Water Education Foundation is up to with announcements about upcoming events, tours, new Western Water articles on key water topics and more! 

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Western Water

Executive Editors Note: Special Groundwater Project Marks Three Years of Online Magazine

It’s been three years since we took Western Water magazine online to make topical issues regarding our most vital resource in California and the West accessible to more people.

Since 1977, the magazine has been a trusted resource, and our journalism team works hard to not break that trust.

Our latest offering is a special report on groundwater because it’s so vital to California as a drinking water source and to grow our crops.


Foundation Resources Help You Understand Groundwater’s Vital Role in California
Special project on SGMA publishing soon in Western Water; Groundwater map and layperson’s guide among array of educational materials

In any given year, whether it’s a wet winter or a dry one, groundwater is a critical source of water for California, providing 40 percent to 60 percent of the state’s supply. Some areas of the state are entirely dependent on groundwater. 

To help you learn more about the importance of groundwater, the Water Education Foundation has an array of educational materials on this vital resource. And next week, the Foundation’s flagship publication, Western Water news, will publish a special report examining how two local groundwater agencies are taking different approaches to achieve sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the most critically overdrafted regions in the state. You can sign up here to be alerted when this special report is published. 


2020 Water Leaders Class Releases Policy Recommendations for Adapting California Water Management to Climate Change
Class members to discuss topic at next month's Urban Water Institute Conference

Our 2020 Water Leaders class completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations for adapting California water management to climate change.

The class of 23 up-and-coming leaders from various stakeholder groups and backgrounds – engineers, attorneys, planners, farmers, environmentalists and scientists - had full editorial control to choose recommendations.


Water-Related Distance Learning Resources Available During Pandemic
COVID-19 page has videos, digital tutorials and other educational materials to aid students and teachers

For nearly a full year, the ongoing pandemic has disrupted the daily lives of many. Keeping students engaged in their education despite school closures and the limitations of distance learning has been a challenge for teachers, professors, parents and educators at water districts. 

For those interested in online educational resources for water, we  continue to provide a variety of videos and materials, as well as updates and other water-related information about the COVID-19 pandemic.


Ringing in a Year of Hope with the Water Education Foundation
Learn how the Foundation is approaching 2021 and what events will be offered in Executive Director's letter

Jenn Bowles, Water Education Foundation Executive DirectorHappy New Year to all the friends, supporters, readers and tour and workshop participants of the Water Education Foundation! We’re grateful to each and every person who interacted with us in 2020, especially as we pivoted our in-person programming to virtual platforms.

As we turn the page to 2021, we’re looking ahead to a year of hope that COVID-19 will no longer be a major threat to our health and well-being.

But, with the pandemic in mind, our team is planning a hybrid year starting with virtual water educational experiences and, if deemed safe by health officials, a return to in-person events in the second half of 2021.


Apply by Monday for California’s Leading Water Leadership Program
Learn how the program played out amid a pandemic, and the strategy for next year's class

California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot, speaking at a Water Leaders event. Since 1997, we have been running California’s preeminent water leadership program, graduating more than 400 engineers, lawyers, scientists, farmers, environmentalists and others who care deeply about the future of water in our state.

Our Water Leaders program aimed at early to mid-career professionals is second to none, even when the pandemic hit, forcing the 2020 class to meet virtually for much of the year.


Last Chance to Join Thursday’s San Joaquin River Restoration Tour
Explore firsthand how salmon are being returned to this once-dry river and participate in live Q&A with experts

Speakers on the Foundation's Dec. 10 San Joaquin River Restoration Tour.It’s your last chance to sign up for our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour this Thursday (Dec. 10) as we embark on a virtual journey to learn how one of the nation’s most ambitious river restoration projects is shaping up.

It has been over two years since a Foundation tour last visited the San Joaquin River downstream of Friant Dam near Fresno to see firsthand the progress toward reviving populations of chinook salmon in the river, so don’t miss this opportunity to get an update!

The San Joaquin River was the focus of one of the most contentious legal battles in California water history related to providing in-stream flows for fish, leading to the creation of the San Joaquin River Restoration Program in 2006.


Get the Latest on San Joaquin River Restoration Effort During Final Virtual Tour of the Year
Spend an afternoon exploring firsthand how salmon are being returned to this once-dry river and participate in live Q&A with experts

Chinook salmon being released into the San Joaquin RiverRegister now for the Foundation’s final online event of the year as we embark on our virtual San Joaquin River Restoration Tour next Thursday (Dec. 10) to learn how one of the nation’s most ambitious river restoration projects is shaping up.

It has been over two years since a Foundation tour last visited the San Joaquin River downstream of Friant Dam near Fresno to see firsthand the progress toward reviving populations of chinook salmon in the river, so don’t miss this opportunity to get an update!


Dec. 21 Deadline Looms to Apply for Competitive 2021 Water Leaders Class
Scholarship funding available from ACWA, Urban Water Institute

Water Leaders meetings and eventsApply for our 2021 Water Leaders class by Dec. 21, and if you work for a public water agency that is a member of the Association of California Water Agencies you could be eligible for a scholarship.

Our William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class is a competitive, one-year program attended by early- to mid-career, up-and-coming leaders designed to deepen understanding of California water issues and build leadership skills by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor, among other activities. 


Don’t Miss This Sweet Holiday Deal on a Beautiful Water Book
Get 35% off Water & the Shaping of California; Check out our other water books, maps & guides sure to be a hit with any water wonk

Water and the Shaping of CaliforniaHere’s a sweet deal for the holidays that won’t last long: Get the paperback “Water & the Shaping of California,” a treasure trove of gorgeous color photos, historic maps, water literature and famous sayings about water for just $22.75 – a 35% discount.

“Water & the Shaping of California” is a beautifully designed oversize book that discusses the engineering feats, political decisions and popular opinion that reshaped nature and society, leading to the water projects that created the California we know today. The book includes a foreword by the late Kevin Starr, the Golden State’s premier historian.


Persevering in a Year of Change and Challenges
A letter of thanks from the Water Education Foundation's Executive Director

As we wind down to Thanksgiving and look back on this challenging year, feelings of gratitude well up. 

We are grateful most of all for the health of our team at the Water Education Foundation. And we are especially grateful for those who supported us along the way, allowing our talented team to pivot in-person educational opportunities about California’s most precious natural resource into virtual experiences.

Joe Del Bosque, a former member of the California Water Commission, at his San Joaquin Valley farms stand, speaks.

Last Chance to Sign Up for Virtual Water Journey Across the Central Valley, Today’s Q&A Session on 2021 Water Leader Applications

It’s your last chance to sign up for a few events this week:

Today at 3 p.m.: Are you considering applying for our 2021 Water Leaders class or supporting an applicant as their boss?

Sign up for a 30-minute Q&A session at 3 p.m. with Executive Director Jenn Bowles, who will offer details on the one-year program and tips for completing a solid application. The program deepens knowledge on water, enhances individual leadership skills and prepares class members to take an active, cooperative approach to decision-making about water resource issues. Get more info on the free Zoom event and learn how you can sign up to attend.


Support Project Wet in California Through Workplace Giving
Consider a gift through payroll deduction campaigns underway for federal and state agencies, private employers

Workplace giving campaigns at the local, state and federal level.It’s workplace giving season, the time of year when anyone in the workplace can show their support for the organizations and causes they love.

The Water Education Foundation is now part of federal, state and private programs allowing donations through payroll deductions.

Like many nonprofits, the Foundation is “mission-driven but revenue-dependent.” We need your continued support, especially in a challenging year like 2020, to keep programs like Project WET going!


Register for Central Valley Tour to Explore Water Challenges in Key Agricultural Region
Spend an afternoon touring the region virtually and participating in a live Q&A with experts

Grab your ticket for our Nov. 19 Central Valley Tour to explore water supply challenges in the San Joaquin Valley, one of the nation’s most productive agricultural regions. You’ll hear from farmers, water managers, disadvantaged communities and others about how they’re meeting those challenges.

Joe Del Bosque, a former member of the California Water Commission, at his San Joaquin Valley farm.During this three-hour online event starting at 2:30 p.m., we’ll take you deep into the San Joaquin Valley to hear how farmers manage surface water for various crops and orchards, and how they are responding to mandates under the state’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act. You’ll hear from the valley’s disadvantaged communities and learn how subsidence from groundwater pumping is affecting surface water facilities. You’ll visit key infrastructure, including San Luis Reservoir, Friant Dam and the Friant-Kern Canal. You also learn about managed wetlands, see a unique feature to one of the region’s rim dams, and hear about efforts to put water back in the ground. Get tickets here!

A limited number of need-based scholarships are available for the tours. Contact Nick Gray at for more information.


Join us for Virtual Water Journeys, Get Tips on Applying for 2021 Water Leaders Class and Snap Up Our New Water Rights Guide

As we countdown to the Thanksgiving holiday, we still have a lot going on at the Water Education Foundation over the coming weeks. And you can now get your copy of our updated Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights, which is hot off  the press!

Among our upcoming events:

Meghan Hertel with Audubon California at the Sacramento National Wildlife RefugeThis Thursday (Nov. 12): Our Northern California Tour will hit the road at 2:30 p.m. on a virtual exploration of the Sacramento River and its tributaries, where you’ll gain a deeper understanding of issues associated with a key source of the state’s water supply. Participants will visit Oroville and Shasta dams, rice fields and wildlife refuges, and hear from farmers, biologists and water managers. Get your ticket for the three-hour virtual journey here


Last Chance to Reserve Your Spot on a Virtual Journey into California’s Water Hub
Sign up for the next Tuesday's Bay-Delta Tour; all virtual journeys this fall include overview presentations, exclusive video tour screenings and live Q&A with experts

The Delta map at Big Break Regional ShorelineIf you missed last month’s sold-out Bay-Delta Tour, you can join us next Tuesday, Nov. 10 for an encore presentation that will include a video tour and a live Q&A with key experts on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state’s vital water hub and the West Coast’s largest freshwater tidal estuary.

You’ll learn about Delta ecosystem restoration, impacts to ocean fisheries from changes in the Delta, agriculture and municipal water use and the Delta’s role in supplying water to Southern California. You’ll hear from farmers, fish biologists, water managers, people working on restoration efforts, and more! Get tickets here!


Updated Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law Hot Off the Press
Latest edition of the Guide offers a "mini-textbook" to history, key issues and changes in water law

Our popular Layperson’s Guide to Water Rights Law has just been updated with an extensive section on groundwater rights and the 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act as well as the latest significant court cases governing how water is used in California. 

This 28-page Layperson’s Guide, recognized as the most thorough explanation of California water rights law available to non-lawyers, traces the authority for water flowing in a stream or reservoir, from a faucet or into an irrigation ditch through the complex web of California water rights.


Join Q&A Session for 2021 Water Leaders Class & Applications
Learn more about the program and get tips on applying during Nov. 17 online event

A group photo with the 2019 Water Leaders on our Lower Colorado River tour.One of our most popular programs, the Water Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues and building leadership skills with class members by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor. 

Are you considering apply for the 2021 class or supporting a candidate? Join us at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17 for a 30-minute Q&A session with Foundation Executive Director Jenn Bowles, who will offer details on the program and tips on completing an application.

Register here for the Zoom Q&A session!


Visit Oroville and Shasta Dams, Rice Farms, Wetlands and More During a Virtual Journey through Northern California
Spend an afternoon touring the region virtually and participating in a live Q&A with experts

Reconstructed Oroville SpillwaySign up for next week’s Nov. 12 virtual Northern California Tour, which will take you through a region key to water supply for much of the state.

During the three-hour online event, you’ll get up close to Oroville Dam and learn how its two spillways were repaired following a catastrophic 2017 storm. You’ll also visit rice farms and wetlands in the Sacramento Valley, and hear from farmers and environmentalists about efforts to restore runs of endangered chinook salmon and help birds along the Pacific Flyway. You’ll also visit Shasta Dam and the area being eyed for the proposed Sites Reservoir. Get your ticket for the “bus” here


Immerse Yourself in California’s Key Water Sources During Upcoming Virtual Journeys
Get your ticket for our Bay-Delta Tour Encore and/or Northern California Tour

Tickets are going fast for our three-hour virtual journeys into key California water sources.

Registration is open for our:

Bay-Delta Tour: Nov. 10

Aerial view of Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaIf you missed our October Bay-Delta Tour, you can join us Nov. 10 for an encore. This tour traverses the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that serves as California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. Hear from farmers, fish biologists, people working on restoration efforts and more!

Northern California Tour: Nov. 12

Aerial view of Shasta Dam and Lake Shasta.Explore the  Sacramento River and its tributaries and gain a deeper understanding of the issues associated with a key source of the state’s water supply. Visit Oroville and Shasta dams, rice fields and wildlife refuges, and hear from farmers, biologists and water managers.

Each virtual tour event will include:

  • An overview presentation of the region’s critical topics
  • A guided video tour of key locations — farms, wetlands, dams and reservoirs, wildlife habitats — to gain a stronger understanding on a variety of water supply issues and the latest policy developments
  • Live Q&A with experts featured in the video so attendees can dive deeper into the topics

As part of each event, participants will receive one of our popular Layperson’s Guides and be entered into a drawing to win one of our beautiful water maps.

Attendees should make sure they download the latest version of Zoom before the event.