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! Sign up here to get announcements sent to your inbox.


Latest Western Water Article Looks at How Court Decision Could Affect Groundwater Pumping in California
Pumping near Scott River in Siskiyou County sparks appellate case that extends public trust to some groundwater; explore maps and guides to learn more

In 1983, a landmark California Supreme Court ruling forced Los Angeles to reduce its take of water from Eastern Sierra creeks that fed Mono Lake. It marked a dramatic shift in California water law by extending the public trust doctrine to tributary creeks that fed Mono Lake, which is a navigable water body even though the creeks themselves are not. 

Some 35 years later, an appellate court in Sacramento for the first time has concluded that the same public trust doctrine used in the Mono Lake decision also applies to groundwater feeding the navigable Scott River in a picturesque corner of far Northern California.


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Learn What’s in Store for Water Year 2019 at Dec. 5 Workshop in Irvine
Will it be another “dry, hot and on fire” year?

“Dry, hot and on fire” is how the California Department of Water Resources described Water Year 2018 in a recent report.

The 2018 Water Year (Oct. 1, 2017 to Sept. 30, 2018) marked a return to dry conditions statewide — and with much of Southern California receiving half or less of its average annual precipitation — following an exceptionally wet 2017.

Was 2018 simply a single dry year or does it signal the start of another drought? And what can reliably be said about the prospects for Water Year 2019? Does El Niño really mean anything for California, or is it all washed up as a predictor?

At Water Year 2019: Feast or Famine?, a one-day event on Dec. 5 in Irvine, water managers and anyone else interested in this topic will learn about what is and isn’t known about forecasting California’s winter precipitation weeks to months ahead, the skill of present forecasts and ongoing research to develop predictive ability.


Save the Dates for Water 101, Lower Colorado River Tour and More!
Popular Water 101 Workshop includes optional groundwater tour; Santa Ana River Watershed Conference also set

At Hoover Dam on our annual Lower Colorado River TourOur 2019 calendar is starting to fill up, so save the dates for these upcoming tours, workshops and conferences.

Feb. 7: Water 101 Workshop in Sacramento

Our most popular workshop will have an optional groundwater tour the next day. More information coming soon! Read about last year’s workshop here

Feb. 27-March 1: Lower Colorado River Tour


Agricultural History and Habitat Restoration Come to Life on San Joaquin River Tour
Our Final 2018 Tour Dives Deep into River Restoration Nov. 7-8

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.

On our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour, Nov. 7-8, we will visit all five reaches of the project – from Friant Dam in the Sierra foothills near Fresno downstream to Hills Ferry. We will meet with restoration specialists, water managers, environmentalists, farmers and fish biologists to gain a deeper understanding of this complex issue and see the program’s progress firsthand.


Save the Dates for Water 101, Lower Colorado River Tour and More!
And apply for 2019 Water Leaders class by Dec. 4

At Hoover Dam on our annual Lower Colorado River TourAs we near the end of 2018 with a few more events, our 2019 calendar is starting to fill up. So save the dates for the following tours, workshops and conferences.


Nov. 7-8: San Joaquin River Restoration Tour:

Participants of this tour snake along the San Joaquin River to learn firsthand about one of the nation’s largest and most expensive river restoration projects. More info here.


Latest Western Water Articles Examine How Households are Stretching Water, Offer Suggestions for California’s Next Governor

People in California and the Southwest are getting stingier with water, a story that’s told by the acre-foot.

In the latest Western Water news, writer Gary Pitzer takes a look at how a long-time rule of thumb describing water use—that one acre-foot of water could supply two urban households for a year —is getting a rewrite as household habits and improved technology help people make the most of the water they have.


This Holiday, Give the Gift of Water Knowledge
Special holiday pricing for California Water Bundle

Here’s a special holiday gift offer for the water wonk in your life: The California Water Bundle – our beautiful California water map and Layperson’s Guide to California water. 

The California water bundle features our redesigned California Water Map and the most recent version of the Layperson’s Guide to California Water.

Regularly priced at $20 for the map and $15 for the guide, this bundle allows you to purchase both of these high-quality products for $30. Please note they ship separately.


Water Leaders Program Gives Big-Picture View of California Water, Informative Tours and Invaluable Contacts
Applications for 2019 class now available; deadline is Dec. 4

2018 Water Leaders class on ferry ride during Bay-Delta Tour.Applications for one of our most popular programs, Water Leaders, are now available for the 2019 class. 

Alums of our one-year program say they gained invaluable contacts, exposure to different viewpoints, core knowledge and a big-picture view of California water.

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; Chris Scheuring, managing counsel for natural resources at the California Farm Bureau Federation; and Dave Eggerton, ACWA’s new executive director designate.


Explore the Effort to Revive Salmon Runs on the San Joaquin River Restoration Tour Nov. 7-8
Agricultural History and Habitat Restoration Come to Life in the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley

Explore more than 100 miles of Central California’s longest river, subject of one of the nation’s largest and costliest river restorations. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour on Nov. 7-8 will feature speakers from key governmental agencies and stakeholder groups who will explain the restoration program’s goals and progress.


Reclamation Commissioner Highlights Colorado River Drought Risks, Efforts to Avert Supply Cuts in Latest Western Water News
Burman addresses Colorado River, California water needs in Summit talk; learn more about Colorado River with Foundation maps, guides

Colorado River Basin mapThe Colorado River is likely headed to unprecedented shortage in 2020 that could force water supply cuts to some states, but work is “furiously” underway to reduce the risk and avert a crisis, Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman told an audience at the Foundation’s Sept. 20 Water Summit in Sacramento.


Only a Few Tickets Left for Northern California Tour
Venture into the Sacramento Valley to see Shasta and Oroville dams, farmland and habitat improvements

Only a few tickets are left for our annual Northern California Tour, Oct. 10-12, when we will venture deep inside Shasta Dam and tour wildlife refuges and rice fields as we learn about water use and salmon restoration efforts in the farm-heavy region.

In addition to Shasta Dam, we will see newly accessible views of the Oroville Dam spillway and get an on-site update of repairs to the cornerstone of the State Water Project, including live camera feeds from the ongoing construction site.


Farming in the Sacramento Valley a Highlight of the Northern California Tour Oct. 10-12
Discover the various roles agriculture plays in the water story of the Sacramento River and its tributaries

Lundberg Family FarmsOur Oct. 10-12 Northern California Tour will explore the myriad agricultural uses of water throughout the Sacramento Valley, including the latest ways in which farms are adapting to changes in California’s groundwater and surface water resources.

The valley, the northern portion of California’s Central Valley, is known for some 2 million acres of farmland irrigated by the Sacramento River and its tributaries, along with groundwater. Primary crops grown in the region include rice, peaches, plums, tomatoes, walnuts and other nuts.


Bid on Lunch with Sen. Hertzberg, Jeff Kightlinger and Other Key Water Leaders at Sept. 20 Water Summit
Silent auction to benefit Water Leaders program includes canoe trip, waterfront cabins and more!

State Sen. Robert HertzbergAttending our annual Water Summit on Sept. 20 is more than just hearing in-depth discussions on the hottest water topics.

Mingle and network with attendees at the hosted reception after the conference beside the Sacramento River, and bid throughout the day on some fun outings and baskets of California products during an auction that benefits our yearlong Water Leaders program. 

Auction items also feature lunch with water policy experts, including:


Latest Western Water Examines Colorado River Experiment Aimed at Making the River More “Buggy”
USGS scientist Ted Kennedy discusses effort to enhance food web to aid endangered fish as well as birds and bats

Water means life for all the Grand Canyon’s inhabitants, including the insects that are a foundation of the ecosystem’s food web. But hydropower operations upstream on the Colorado River at Glen Canyon Dam disrupt the natural pace of insect reproduction as the river rises and falls, sometimes dramatically. Eggs deposited at the river’s edge are often left high and dry. Their loss affects available food for endangered fish such as the humpback chub.


Agenda Posted for Sept. 20 Water Summit; Only a Few Tickets Left!
Speakers include Bureau of Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman, DWR Director Karla Nemeth and State Water Board Chair Felicia Marcus

WEF SummitA diverse roster of top policymakers and water experts are on the agenda for the Foundation’s 35th annual Water Summit. The day-long conference, Facing Reality from the Headwaters to the Delta, will feature critical conversations about water in California and the West.

Climate scientist Daniel Swain will be the opening keynote speaker addressing drought, flood and wildfires amid increasing climate whiplash and what it means for water management. Reclamation Commissioner Brenda Burman will give the keynote lunch address. See the full roster of speakers here.

Interior of Shasta Dam

Northern California Tour Visits Oroville and Shasta Dams, Other Major Infrastructure
See key components of the state and federal water projects vital to delivering water across California

Participants of our Northern California Tour, Oct. 10-12, will venture deep inside Shasta Dam, keystone of the federal Central Valley Project, and take a houseboat tour of Shasta Lake, California’s largest reservoir.


Water Education Foundation is a Trusted Source of News and Information on Water in California and the Southwest
Foundation offers daily news briefing, online encyclopedia and original coverage of water

The Water Education Foundation’s website,, is a trusted go-to source for impartial news, information and background on water resources in California and the Southwest.


The Promise and Challenge of Safe, Clean Drinking Water for All Is Focus of Sept. 20 Summit Panel
Get an update from experts and hear about solutions at Water Summit; tickets going fast!

Drinking WaterMore than 260 California water suppliers — many of them small systems in disadvantaged communities — don’t meet safe drinking water standards. One solution to getting those communities clean water is as simple — and as complicated — as connecting them to a larger supplier nearby. 

At the Foundation’s 35th annual Water Summit Sept. 20 in Sacramento, Camille Pannu, director of the Water Justice Clinic at UC Davis’ Aoki Center for Critical Race and Nation Studies, will discuss the complexities of water system mergers and a program underway in the Central Valley that has facilitated more than a dozen such mergers.


New Stop Announced for Northern California Tour: Salmon Rearing Structures in the Sacramento River
River Garden Farms project is one of several stops highlighting habitat restoration in the Sacramento Valley

Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, with an example of a salmon refuge, similar to what was placed in the Sacramento River.More than two dozen refuge structures made of large walnut tree trunks bolted to boulders were dropped deep into the Sacramento River last year to shelter juvenile salmon from predators.

Participants on our Northern California Tour Oct. 10-12 will visit the location of these rearing structures in Redding and learn why they’re important from Roger Cornwell, general manager of River Garden Farms, which spearheaded the project. Other restoration-focused stops on the tour include the Sacramento National Wildlife Refuge and the Red Bluff Fish Passage Improvement Project.