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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California’s Complex Water Rights System Explained at Water 101 Workshop
April 22-23 online event includes primer on who owns California’s water

From the very first gold miners making claims to divert streams in the Sierra Nevada foothills to the later wrangling that enabled irrigation of Central Valley farmland and drinking water to be sent to growing cities in California, water rights are an indispensable cornerstone of the state’s  water supply and delivery system.

But they can also be complex, and gaining an understanding of their history at our Water 101 Workshop in April will provide context for issues that could come up in the future. In the last drought, for example, the state curtailed some water rights as surface supplies became more scarce.


Foundation Board of Directors Reappoints Mike Chrisman as President; Welcomes Hancock Water Resources VP to Board
Board members representing various water interests also reappoint Celeste Cantú as VP

Mike Chrisman, the new president of the Water Education Foundation’s board of directors, with Executive Director Jenn Bowles at the Foundation's 2018 Water Summit in Sacramento.Each year, the Board of Directors of the Water Education Foundation votes to accept a member of the graduating Water Leaders class to join the board for a three-year term.

For the 2020 class, the board selected Carl B. Evers III, vice president of water resources for Hancock Natural Resource Group, where he is responsible for the management of water policy at the state and national level for the company’s agricultural investments in the western United States. 


Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Bundle Features Map and Layperson’s Guide at a Special Price
Foundation offers array of bundles, maps, guides and other publications to expand your knowledge of water

Explore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one of California’s most vital ecological and water resources, with a special discounted education bundle that includes our brand-new Delta Map and our recently updated Layperson’s Guide to the Delta.

Purchased separately, the map retails for $20 and the guide sells for $15. But with our Delta Education Bundle you can get both items for just $30.


Hot Off the Press! Our Map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Has a New Look
Redesigned map highlights the Delta’s importance as a farming region, ecological resource and hub for California’s water supply system

2021 map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaOur map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been updated with a fresh, new look and new text and images to better tell the story of one of California’s most important ecological and water supply resources. 

The new map explores the Delta’s importance as a haven for birds, fish and other wildlife, its vital role in moving water to farms and cities across California, and the array of challenges facing the Delta’s present and future. The map also highlights life in the Delta, including its role as a farming region and its attractions for fishermen, boaters and others looking for recreation. 


Groundwater Session Added to April 22-23 Virtual Water 101 Workshop
Engaging online workshop to cover California water basics & beyond

Groundwater pump in the Sacramento ValleyLearn from top water experts at our annual Water 101 Workshop about the history, hydrology and law behind California water as well as hot topics such as water equity, the Delta and flows, new federal administration and more.

This year’s workshop, set for April 22-23, will be held virtually and feature a presentation devoted solely to groundwater. In a typical year, groundwater quenches some 40 percent of the state’s freshwater needs, and 85 percent of Californians depend on groundwater for at least portion of their drinking water supply. With California using more groundwater than any other state, participants will learn how all this affects efforts to comply with the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.


Save the Date for Our Virtual Lower Colorado River Tour on May 20
Take the Pulse of the ‘Lifeline of the Southwest’ During Online Event

Mark your calendars now for our virtual Lower Colorado River Tour on May 20 to learn about the important role the river’s water plays in the three Lower Basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California, and how it helps to sustain their cities, wildlife areas and farms. Registration is coming soon!

This virtual journey will cover a stretch of the Colorado River from Hoover Dam and its reservoir Lake Mead, the nation’s tallest concrete dam and largest reservoir respectively, down to the U.S./Mexico border and up to the Salton Sea.


Registration is Now Open for Our Virtual Water 101 Workshop
Engaging Online Event Scheduled for the Afternoons of April 22-23

Registration is now open for one of our most popular events, the Water 101 Workshop, to be held this year virtually on the afternoons of April 22-23.

The annual workshop serves as a refresher for more veteran water professionals and a good statewide primer for others. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.


2021 Water Leaders Class Evaluates California’s Efforts to Achieve Water Equity
Rising stars in the water world chosen for highly competitive leadership program

Twenty-three early to mid-career water professionals from across California have been chosen for the 2021 William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class, the Water Education Foundation’s highly competitive and respected career development program.

The Water Leaders class includes engineers, lawyers, resource specialists, scientists and others from a range of public and private entities and nongovernmental organizations from throughout the state. The roster for the 2021 class can be found here


Stay in the Know with Water News & Tap Into Special News Feed for COVID-19 and Equity Issues
News feed part of daily Aquafornia aggregation that keeps you updated on water issues in California and the West

Our daily news aggregation known as Aquafornia keeps you up-to-date on the most pressing water issues in California and across the West.

Curated by veteran journalist Alastair Bland and managed by the Foundation’s news and publications director Doug Beeman, Aquafornia gives you the latest articles on groundwater, Delta issues, the Colorado River and more through an easy-to-scan headline format.


Save the Date for Our Virtual Water 101 Workshop in April
Deepen Your Understanding of California Water with Leading Experts During our Online Event

Curious about water rights in California? Want to know more about how water is managed in the state, or learn about the State Water Project, Central Valley Project or other water infrastructure? 

Mark your calendars now for our virtual Water 101 Workshop for the afternoons of April 22-23 to hear from experts on these topics and more. Registration is coming soon! 


Latest Western Water Special Report Explores How Two San Joaquin Valley Agencies Are Working To Balance Groundwater Use
Agencies in Fresno, Tulare counties pursue different approaches to address overdraft and meet requirements of California’s groundwater law

A vineyard in Fresno County is flooded to help put water back in the ground.  Groundwater keeps the San Joaquin Valley’s orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems. 

Now, hundreds of agencies in California have the task of making things right in their respective groundwater basins. The latest Western Water news is a special report exploring how two different farming regions in the San Joaquin Valley are approaching the problem and their proposed solutions to achieve groundwater sustainability. 

California water map

Your Source for Water News & Information in California & the West
Our news & publications team keeps you informed every day, every month with articles, maps and educational guides

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Water Education Foundation team continues to churn out water news, maps that provide visual context to key water topics and guides that help deepen your understanding of California’s most precious natural resource.


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.