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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Latest Western Water Article Explores How California Water Managers Are Rewriting Their Emergency Playbook As Wildfires Grow More Intense
Agencies share lessons learned as they recover from fires that destroyed facilities, contaminated supplies and devastated their communities

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.

Our 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 Water 101 Workshop
Feb. 20 workshop in Sacramento to include optional one-day tour

Attendees listening to presentations at the 2019 Water 101 workshop.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.


Give the Gift of Water Knowledge This Holiday Season
Check out the array of water maps, layperson's guides, tours, events and more that could fill any water wonk's stocking

Three water mapsThis 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.


Apply for the 2020 Water Leaders Class by Dec. 9
Program Gives Big-Picture View of California Water, Informative Tours and Invaluable Contacts

2019 Water Leaders class on ferry ride during Bay-Delta Tour.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.


Water Leaders Deadline Nears; Few Seats Open for Next Week’s Central Coast Tour; Registration Opens for 2020 Events, Including Water 101
Water Leaders applications due Dec. 9; Popular Water 101 Workshop will include optional innovation tour

Members of our 2019 Water Leaders class gather on the deck of a ferry crossing San Francisco Bay during our Bay Delta Tour in June. 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.


Central Coast Tour Explores Solutions to Water Resource Challenges That Offer Lessons for California
Nov. 6-7 trip highlights dam removal, river restoration, airborne mapping, desalination, water recycling & groundwater management

Monterey Bay coastlineFrom 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.


Explore Airborne Mapping of Seawater Intrusion on Central Coast Tour November 6-7
Efforts to combat potentially irreversible contamination of water supply along Monterey Bay highlighted on tour that starts in San Jose

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.


Latest Western Water Explores Potential For Managed Aquifer Recharge To Aid California’s Groundwater Basins

Groundwater recharge basin in California's Coachella Valley.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. 


Agenda Posted for Oct. 30 Water Summit; Join the Waitlist!
Keynote speakers include California Natural Resources Secretary Wade Crowfoot and Scripps Atmospheric River Researcher Marty Ralph

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 disasters.

Tickets for the Water Summit are sold out, but by joining the waitlist we can let you know when spaces open via cancellations.


Central Coast Tour Highlights Dam Removal & River Restoration, Ocean Desal and Innovative Recycling Project Using Ag Runoff
Variety of water projects and programs aimed at water sustainability explored Nov. 6-7; tour starts in San Jose with overnight in Paso Robles

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.


Put Your Feet on the Ground Where a Dam Once Stood During Central Coast Tour November 6-7
San Clemente Dam project among sustainability efforts highlighted on scenic Central Coast; Early bird pricing ends October 7

San Clemente Dam site in Carmel Valley, 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.


Water Summit Panel to Focus on Nexus of Fire and Water in the Wildland-Urban Interface
Oct. 30 Event Will Feature the Latest on Policy, Planning and Management from Key Stakeholders, Experts

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 for 2020 Water Leaders Class Now Available
Apply by Dec. 9 for program that promotes a deeper understanding of statewide water issues

Water Leaders program for early to mid-career water professionalsApplications are now available for our yearlong Water Leaders class.

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. 


Scripps Scientist Marty Ralph to Discuss Atmospheric Rivers in Opening Keynote at Water Summit
Early bird pricing ends today for the 2019 Water Summit “Water Year 2020: A Year of Reckoning"

Oroville Dam spillway emergencyAtmospheric rivers, the narrow bands of moisture that ferry precipitation across the Pacific Ocean to the West Coast, are necessary to keep California’s water reservoirs full.

However, some of them are dangerous because the extreme rainfall and wind can cause catastrophic flooding and damage, much like what happened in 2017 with Oroville Dam’s spillway.

Learn the latest about atmospheric river research and forecasting at our 2019 Water Summit on Oct. 30 in Sacramento, where prominent research meteorologist Marty Ralph will give the opening keynote.


Floodplain Restoration Along the Sacramento River Highlighted on NorCal Tour
Only a few tickets left for Oct. 2-4 tour to see habitat improvements, farmland and major infrastructure

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a salmon refuge. 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.


Learn About Sustainability Efforts That Could Help Across California on Central Coast Tour November 6-7
Final 2019 tour explores water issues in scenic Central Coast; tour starts and ends in San Jose

Monterey BayThe 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 Robles.

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.


New Developments Highlighted During Visits to Shasta and Oroville Dams on Northern California Tour October 2-4
Reserve your spot now on our two remaining 2019 tours, including the Central Coast Tour November 6-7

Shasta Dam powerplantParticipants 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.


Oct. 30 Water Summit to Feature Panel About Key Groundwater Issues as SGMA Deadline Approaches
Attend and learn how water managers are working toward sustainable groundwater management in California

With a key deadline for the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act in January, one of the featured panels at our Oct. 30th  Water 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 medium-priority basins.


Northern California Tour to Include Update on Camp Fire Impacts to Paradise Water System
Paradise Irrigation District general manager will discuss the challenges to recovery on Oct. 2-4 tour

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 Northern California 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.


Save The Dates For Next Year’s Water 101 Workshop and Lower Colorado River Tour
Applications for 2020 Water Leaders class will be available by the first week of October

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 page.