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Overview Jennifer Bowles

About Us

Who We Are

Facing the challenges of sustainably managing and sharing water, our most precious natural resource, requires collaboration, education and outreach. Since 1977, the Water Education Foundation has put water resource issues in California and the West in context to inspire a deep understanding of and appreciation for water. 

Taking a steady pulse of the water world, the Foundation offers educational materials, tours of key watersheds, water news, water leadership training and conferences that bring together diverse voices. By providing tools and platforms for engagement with wide audiences, we aim to help build sound and collective solutions to water issues.

What We Do

We support and execute a wide variety of programming to build a better understanding of water resources across the West, including:

Why Water?

Mission: The mission of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial nonprofit, is to inspire understanding of water and catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making 

Vision: A society that has the ability to resolve its water challenges to benefit all

Where We Work

Our office is located in Sacramento, CA.

Connect with Us!

Sign up here to get email announcements about upcoming workshops, tours and new publications.

You can learn more about the daily comings and goings of the Foundation by following @WaterEdFdn on Twitter, liking us on Facebook or following us on LinkedIn.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Layperson's Guide to the Delta By Gary Pitzer

Is Ecosystem Change in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Outpacing the Ability of Science to Keep Up?
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Science panel argues for a new approach to make research nimbler and more forward-looking to improve management in the ailing Delta

Floating vegetation such as water hyacinth has expanded in the Delta in recent years, choking waterways like the one in the bottom of this photo.Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.

Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.

Announcement

Help Support Water Education in California Through Payroll Deductions
Consider a gift through workplace giving campaigns underway for federal and state agencies, private employers

Attendees listen to a presentation at the Foundation's Water 101 WorkshopThe Water Education Foundation is fortunate to have generous supporters who have answered the call to make contributions through a workplace giving campaign. The contributions support our nonprofit’s mission to inspire understanding of water and catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.

This year, we hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible gift to the Foundation via a one-time payroll deduction or as a set amount per pay period through your employer.

Announcement

Grab Your Ticket for Nov. 12 Virtual “NorCal” Journey into California’s Key Water Source
See dates for all fall virtual journeys that include overview presentation, exclusive video tour screenings and live Q&A with experts

Water Education Foundation staff on the road filming for the Northern California Tour. Join us for an engaging virtual exploration of the Sacramento River and its tributaries to learn about issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply on our Nov. 12 Northern California Tour.  

In addition to the Northern California Tour, you can join us for an encore Bay-Delta Tour Nov. 10 and other virtual journeys into key water regions across California.

Announcement

Applications for 2021 Water Leaders Class Now Available
Apply by Dec. 21 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 by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor. 

Announcement

Support Water Education in California Through Workplace Giving
Foundation is now part of federal, state and private programs allowing donations through payroll deductions

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.

If you have come on one of our water tours, participated in our Water Leaders program or are a loyal reader of our Western Water articles or weekday Aquafornia water news feed, you can now support us though a payroll deduction at your workplace, whether it’s a federal or state agency or in the private-sector.

Announcement

Join the Waitlist for our Virtual Bay-Delta Tour to Get Priority ‘Seating’ for Encore Event
First of our fall virtual journeys has sold out; Save the dates for engaging online water events that remain

Virtual Bay Delta Tour scenes from shooting videoOur virtual Bay-Delta Tour set for tomorrow (Oct. 8) has sold out, but you can still join the waitlist and receive priority access to an encore Bay-Delta Tour event later this fall if there’s enough interest!

In addition to the Bay-Delta Tour, you can join us later this fall for other engaging virtual journeys into key water regions across California

Announcement

2019 Annual Report Recaps Water Education Efforts in California And the West
Water Education Foundation report highlights year of accomplishment; gratitude to supporters

The Water Education Foundation’s just-released 2019 Annual Report takes readers along to see the array of educational events, trainings and articles we produced last year to create a better understanding of water resources in California and the Southwest.

The Annual Report, whose release was delayed due to impacts from the COVID-19 pandemic, recaps the Foundation’s efforts for the year in words and photos.

Announcement

Join the Waitlist for our Virtual Bay-Delta Tour to Get Priority ‘Seating’ for Encore Event
First of our fall virtual journeys has sold out; Save the dates for engaging online water events that remain

Virtual Bay Delta Tour scenes from shooting videoOur virtual Bay-Delta Tour set for Oct. 8 has sold out, but you can still join the waitlist in case ’seats’ open up.

Those who have signed up for the waitlist will receive priority access to an encore Bay-Delta Tour event later this fall if there’s enough interest!

In addition to the Bay-Delta Tour, you can join us later this fall for other engaging virtual journeys into key water regions across California. 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

Announcement

Grab Your Ticket for Virtual Journey into California’s Water Hub
See dates for all fall virtual journeys that include overview presentation, exclusive video tour screenings and live Q&A with experts

Join us this fall for engaging virtual journeys into key water regions across California, including our Oct. 8 Bay-Delta Tour.

Virtual Bay Delta Tour scenes from shooting videoEach 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.

Announcement

Latest Western Water Article Examines Major Report That Tries to Make Sense of Science Vital to the Colorado River’s Management
Report could improve understanding of Colorado River hydrology and aid water managers as they rewrite river's operating rules

Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it.

Snowpack, streamflow and tree ring data all influence the crucial decisions that guide water management of the iconic Western river every day.

Our latest article in Western Water news examines a new report that synthesizes and provides context for that science and could aid water managers as they prepare to rewrite the operating rules for a river system so vital to the Southwestern United States and Mexico.

Announcement

Registration Open for Virtual Journey into Key California Water Region
Bay-Delta Tour includes overview presentation, exclusive video tour screening and live Q&A with experts on the state's vital water hub

Aerial view of a part of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.Join us for an Oct. 8 virtual journey into California’s most critical and controversial water region in the state: The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.

The Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals, supports the state’s two large water systems – the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project – and together with the San Francisco Bay is an important ecological resource. 

Announcement

Project WET Offers Oct. 3 Hybrid Workshop for Educators in Sacramento Region
Check out other fall workshops on water science, geography, technology and more!

There’s still time for K-12 educators in the Sacramento region to sign up for an Oct. 3 workshop exploring activities to engage students in the study of local watersheds and their connections to the Pacific Ocean.

The workshop is part of Project WET (now called Water Education Today), an international, award-winning nonprofit water education program and publisher of materials geared toward K-12 educators. The Water Education Foundation is the coordinator for Project WET in California.

Register here by Sept. 25 for the Oct. 3 workshop that includes an online study at your own pace and a socially distanced field trip at the Effie Yeaw Nature Center along the American River. Cost is $18.00 (plus a nominal Eventbrite fee) and includes a copy of the Project WET 2.0 and Aquatic WILD guides.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Bundle By Gary Pitzer

The Colorado River is awash in data vital to its management, but making sense of it all is a challenge
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Major science report that highlights scientific shortcomings and opportunities in the Basin could aid water managers as they rewrite river's operating rules

The Colorado River threading its way through a desert canyon near Lee Ferry, Arizona. Practically every drop of water that flows through the meadows, canyons and plains of the Colorado River Basin has reams of science attached to it. Snowpack, streamflow and tree ring data all influence the crucial decisions that guide water management of the iconic Western river every day.

Dizzying in its scope, detail and complexity, the scientific information on the Basin’s climate and hydrology has been largely scattered in hundreds of studies and reports. Some studies may conflict with others, or at least appear to. That’s problematic for a river that’s a lifeline for 40 million people and more than 4 million acres of irrigated farmland.

Announcement

Foundation Unveils New Water Equity Page and Newsfeed, Publishes Disadvantaged Communities Handbook
Handbook aimed at helping with engagement to solve water problems

water faucet with a drip of waterIn California and across the West, some people face persistent challenges in trying to gain access to safe, reliable and affordable water to meet their everyday needs. In some cases, people are left without water as wells run dry during drought or they have no access at all to running water – a troubling deficit when hand washing is touted as necessary to protect against the coronavirus pandemic. Communities of color are most often burdened by these challenges.

Layperson's Guide to the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta
Announcement

From Virtual Tours to Instagram to a New Layperson’s Guide, Our Team Is Adding Ways to Learn About Water In California and the West

Despite the coronavirus pandemic, the Water Education Foundation team has been busy continuing to provide educational opportunities, adding to our social media channels and making it easier for graduates of our Water Leaders program to connect.

And, as we continue to work remotely, you can find out here how to email our team for various questions.

Here’s a recap of the last few months and what’s available for you:

Announcement

Updated Layperson’s Guide Explores Vital Role Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Plays For State’s Water, Ecology & Farms
Newly updated, the tenth edition of the Guide offers a "mini-textbook" to history, key issues and challenges

Our popular Layperson’s Guide to the Delta has just been updated to reflect the latest information about efforts to reconcile ecosystem needs of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta with its role as California’s vital water delivery hub as well as its place as an important agricultural region and a popular recreation destination.

The Delta is the largest freshwater tidal estuary on the West Coast and is a unique resource and distinct feature of Northern California’s landscape. The water that flows through the Delta provides a significant portion of drinking water for more than 29 million Californians, serves a $50 billion agricultural industry, is home to native and nonnative plants and animals and is a crucial part of the state’s two largest surface water delivery systems – the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Announcement

Learn More About Key Upper Colorado River Basin Water Manager in Latest Western Water Q&A
Meet Becky Mitchell of Colorado, the headwaters state for a major water source for California

Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that stretches south to California, Arizona and Mexico.

The task of working with interstate partners to address the challenges of the Colorado River Basin while balancing competing water demands within the state of Colorado rests largely with Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board.

In the latest article in Western Water, Mitchell talked about her state’s plan to address an expected water supply shortfall, climate risks and the prospects for future Colorado River operations as the river system deals with prolonged drought.

A Key Player On Colorado River Issues Seeks To Balance Competing Water Demands In The River’s Upper Basin
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Colorado’s water chief Becky Mitchell, now the state’s point person on the Upper Colorado River Commission, brings decades of water know-how to state, interstate assignments

Becky Mitchell, director of the Colorado Water Conservation Board since 2017 and the state’s representative to the Upper Colorado River Commission.Colorado is home to the headwaters of the Colorado River and the water policy decisions made in the Centennial State reverberate throughout the river’s sprawling basin that stretches south to Mexico. The stakes are huge in a basin that serves 40 million people, and responding to the water needs of the economy, productive agriculture, a robust recreational industry and environmental protection takes expertise, leadership and a steady hand.

Announcement

Latest Western Water Article Examines Simmering Questions For Lake Powell As Drought, Climate Change Point To A Drier Colorado River
Powell faces demands from stakeholders in Upper and Lower Basins with different water needs as runoff is forecast to decline

Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. 

Recent studies point to warmer and drier conditions ahead, with reduced runoff into the Colorado River. Meanwhile, the Upper Basin is looking to use more of its share of the river’s waters. On the horizon is a rewrite of the operating guidelines for the river, and already there is talk about how changes to those guidelines could affect Lake Powell, a key reservoir in the Colorado River system.

The latest article in Western Water explores the different concerns being raised around the Colorado River Basin and how the river’s challenges could play out in Powell’s future.

Announcement

Tap Into Special News Feed for Water-Related Articles Involving COVID-19
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.

Now, it features a special COVID-19 news feed where you can find articles related to coronavirus and water, such as efforts to get federal funding to help struggling ratepayers, tracking the virus through wastewater and addressing water systems as people head back to work.

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