It’s been a year since two
devastating wildfires on opposite ends of California underscored
harsh new realities facing water agencies serving communities in
or adjacent to the state’s fire-prone wildlands. Fire doesn’t
just level homes, it can contaminate water, scorch watersheds,
damage delivery systems and upend agency finances.
latest article in Western Water,
our flagship publication, explores the hard-earned lessons water
managers have gleaned from the Camp Fire that swept through
Paradise, in Northern California, and the Woolsey Fire along the
Los Angeles-Ventura County border in Southern California. These
lessons are still being absorbed by water managers around
California a year later as they recognize that emergency
preparedness plans of yesterday may not be adequate for the
wildfire reality of today.
Registration is now open for one of
our most popular annual events, the Water 101 workshop, to be held Feb. 20 at
McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento. The workshop also includes
an optional tour the following day that will feature
collaborative and innovative water projects and programs.
Water 101 covers California’s water basics including the history,
geography, legal and political facets of water in the state,
as well a look at hot topics and current issues of concern.
Taught by some of California’s leading policy and legal
experts, the workshop offers attendees the opportunity
to deepen their understanding of the state’s water resources.
This holiday season, consider giving
the gift of water knowledge to the water wonk in your life.
We’re offering an array of intriguing gift options, from a ticket
to our popular Water 101 Workshop or one of our 2020 water tours
to one of our beautiful poster-size water maps, layperson’s
guides or other water publications.
Applications for one of our most
popular programs, Water Leaders,
are available for the 2020 class. The deadline is Dec. 9 at
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
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.
The deadline is nearing to apply for
our highly sought-after Water Leaders program for early to
mid-career water professionals, and registration is now open for
two popular events in 2020: our Water 101 Workshop and Lower
Colorado River Tour.
The yearlong Water
Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper
understanding of California water issues and building leadership
skills with class members attending water tours, studying a
water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor.
From the technology hub of San Jose
to the coastal enclave of Monterey and from the productive
agriculture of the Salinas Valley to the rolling vineyards of
Paso Robles, participants on our Central Coast Tour Nov. 6-7
will learn about efforts by water users to achieve sustainability
in a region grappling with limited local water supplies.
The sustainable management of
groundwater is an important issue across California, but water
users along the coast also must deal with seawater intrusion when
their basins become imbalanced. Learn how one water district is
working to quantify the problem and address it on our Central Coast Tour Nov. 6-7.
To survive the next drought and meet
the looming demands of the state’s groundwater sustainability
law, California is going to have to put more water back in the
ground. But as other Western states have found, recharging
overpumped aquifers is no easy task.
A UC Berkeley symposium in which water managers and others
from across the West assessed the opportunities and challenges of
improving troubled aquifers through managed aquifer recharge is
the focus of our latest article in Western
Water, our flagship publication.
A diverse roster of top
policymakers and water experts are on the
agenda for the Foundation’s 36th annual Water
Summit. The conference, Water Year 2020: A Year
of Reckoning, will feature compelling conversations
reflecting on upcoming regulatory deadlines and efforts to
improve water management and policy in the face of natural
Tickets for the Water Summit are sold out, but by joining the waitlist we can
let you know when spaces open via cancellations.
Our last tour of 2019 is all new and
will journey through a region grappling with limited local water
supplies. Solutions to issues surrounding urban, agricultural and
environmental water use on the scenic Central Coast involve
potential lessons for all of California.
Get a firsthand look at a completed
dam removal project near Monterey on our Central Coast Tour Nov. 6-7.
The removal of San Clemente Dam on the Carmel River in 2015 was
the largest project of its kind in California, and lessons
learned from it are being applied to other projects across the
state and the nation.
Although safety concerns from sediment buildup and seismic
activity were the primary drivers for the dam’s removal, it also
opened up miles of spawning habitat for salmon and steelhead on
the Carmel River that had been blocked for nearly 100 years.
California experienced one of the
most deadly and destructive wildfire years on record in 2018,
with several major fires occurring in the wildland-urban
interface (WUI). These areas, where communities are in close
proximity to undeveloped land at high risk of wildfire, have felt
devastating effects of these disasters, including direct impacts
to water infrastructure and supplies.
One panel at our 2019 Water
Summit Oct. 30 in Sacramento will feature speakers
from water agencies who came face-to-face with two major fires:
The Camp Fire that destroyed most of the town of Paradise in
Northern California, and the Woolsey Fire in the Southern
California coastal mountains. They’ll talk about their
experiences and what lessons they learned.
Applications are now available for
our yearlong Water
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
attending water tours, studying a water-related topic in-depth
and working with a mentor.
A multiphased project to remove
a levee along the Sacramento River north of Sacramento and
restore hundreds of acres of floodplains to reconnect to the
river is now underway.
Participants on our Northern California
Tour Oct. 2-4 will visit the site of the
restoration project near Hamilton City led by River Partners. The
project also involves the construction of a setback levee
to provide more reliable flood protection to the community
and agricultural areas along the river.
The Foundation’s final tour of 2019
is all new and will highlight urban, agricultural and
environmental water use on California’s scenic Central Coast,
traveling from the technology hub of Silicon Valley’s San Jose to
the coastal enclave of Monterey and to the wine country of Paso
Participants on our Nov. 6-7 Central Coast Tour will learn
about the challenges of a region struggling to be sustainable
with limited local supplies and the efforts to address them.
Participants on our Northern California
Tour Oct. 2-4 will get updates on changes planned or
completed at key dams that anchor California’s two major water
delivery projects — Shasta Dam and Oroville Dam.
The tour will visit Shasta Dam, keystone of the federal Central Valley Project,
for a firsthand look at plans to raise the height of the
structure and increase storage capacity, and hear from some who
oppose the expansion. A tour of the Shasta Powerplant and a
houseboat outing on Shasta Lake, already California’s largest
reservoir, are also part of the tour.
With a key deadline for the
Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in January, one of the
featured panels at our Oct.
Summit will focus on how regions around California
are crafting groundwater sustainability plans and working on
innovative ways to fill aquifers.
The theme for this year’s Water Summit, “Water Year 2020: A Year
of Reckoning,” reflects critical upcoming events in California
water, including the imminent Jan. 31, 2020 deadline for
groundwater sustainability plans (GSPs) in high- and
The deadliest and most destructive
wildfire in California history had a severe impact on the water
system in the town of Paradise. Participants on our Oct. 2-4
Tour will hear from Kevin Phillips, general manager of
Paradise Irrigation District, on the scope of the damages, the
obstacles to recovery and the future of the water district.
The Camp Fire destroyed 90 percent of the structures in Paradise,
and 90 percent of the irrigation district’s ratepayer base. The
fire did not destroy the irrigation district’s water storage or
treatment facilities, but it did melt plastic pipes, releasing
contaminants into parts of the system and prompting do-not-drink
advisories to water customers.
Dates are now set for two key
Foundation events to kick off 2020 — our popular Water 101
Workshop, scheduled for Feb. 20 at McGeorge School of Law in
Sacramento, and our Lower Colorado River Tour, which will run
from March 11-13.
In addition, applications will be available by the first week of
October for our 2020 class of Water Leaders, our competitive
yearlong program for early to mid-career up-and-coming water
professionals. To learn more about the program, check out our
Water Leaders program