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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.

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.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Colorado River Basin Map Gary Pitzer

Questions Simmer About Lake Powell’s Future As Drought, Climate Change Point To A Drier Colorado River Basin
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: A key reservoir for Colorado River storage program, Powell faces demands from stakeholders in Upper and Lower Basins with different water needs as runoff is forecast to decline

Persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin combined with the coordinated operations with Lake Mead has left Lake Powell consistently about half-full. Sprawled across a desert expanse along the Utah-Arizona border, Lake Powell’s nearly 100-foot high bathtub ring etched on its sandstone walls belie the challenges of a major Colorado River reservoir at less than half-full. How those challenges play out as demand grows for the river’s water amid a changing climate is fueling simmering questions about Powell’s future.

Announcement

Special COVID-19 Webpage Now Includes Newsfeed for Water-Related Coronavirus Articles
Page also explains tap water safety, flushing protocols and offers online water lesson ideas

Our special COVID-19 webpage dedicated to providing ideas for teaching online or at home now includes a newsfeed where you can find the latest coronavirus-related water news.

To access the latest COVID-19 water news, click on our special page and scroll down to Stay in the Know.

Announcement

Our 2020 Tours and Events Schedule Has Been Updated to Keep Everyone Healthy
Save the dates for our annual Water Summit and rescheduled Bay-Delta & Headwaters tours

In response to updated COVID-19 public health guidelines, the Water Education Foundation has further adjusted our 2020 in-person programming schedule to ensure the safety and health of our partners, event attendees and staff.

Western Water Gary Pitzer Gary Pitzer

Framework for Agreements to Aid Health of Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is a Starting Point With An Uncertain End
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Voluntary agreement discussions continue despite court fights, state-federal conflicts and skepticism among some water users and environmental groups

Aerial image of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaVoluntary agreements in California have been touted as an innovative and flexible way to improve environmental conditions in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and the rivers that feed it. The goal is to provide river flows and habitat for fish while still allowing enough water to be diverted for farms and cities in a way that satisfies state regulators.

With Sustainability Plans Filed, Groundwater Agencies Now Must Figure Out How To Pay For Them
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's Prop. 218 taxpayer law and local politics could complicate efforts to finance groundwater improvement projects

A groundwater monitoring well in Colusa County, north of Sacramento. The bill is coming due, literally, to protect and restore groundwater in California.

Local agencies in the most depleted groundwater basins in California spent months putting together plans to show how they will achieve balance in about 20 years.

Announcement

Water Education Foundation Updates 2020 In-Person Programming Schedule
Save the dates for our annual Water Summit and rescheduled Central Valley Tour

The Water Education Foundation appreciates your understanding as we continue to closely monitor COVID-19 developments and adjust our 2020 programming to ensure the safety and health of our partners, event attendees and staff.

With that said, our 2020 Water Summit is still on for Sept. 24 in Sacramento, so save the date! Our annual premier event will feature key policymakers, stakeholders and experts providing the latest information and viewpoints on issues affecting water across California and the West.

Announcement

Join Us May 7 for a Virtual Open House on Big Day of Giving
Learn about the various ways the Foundation is serving our mission and delivering programs through COVID-19 to foster public understanding about water

Join us May 7 for a “virtual” open house to learn more about how we are educating and fostering understanding of California’s most precious natural resource - water – through the COVID-19 pandemic.

During the open house, you can chat with our staff about our water tours, conferences, maps, publications, and training programs for teachers and up-and-coming water industry professionals. You’ll also be able to learn more about how you can support our work.

Western Water Douglas E. Beeman Douglas E. Beeman

IN MEMORIAM: William R. Gianelli
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Former California Department of Water Resources Director Was Foundation’s Second President, Namesake of Water Leaders Program

William R. "Bill" Gianelli, former director of the California Department of Water Resources and second president of the Water Education Foundation's board of directors. William R. Gianelli, the Water Education Foundation’s second president and a leading figure in California water during construction of the State Water Project, died March 30, 2020, in Monterey County. He was 101.

Mr. Gianelli was president of the Foundation from 1985-1989 and made a major financial donation that helped the Foundation create an educational program for young professionals from diverse backgrounds, which was named the William R. “Bill” Gianelli Water Leaders Class in his honor. The year-long program began in 1997 and now includes more than 400 graduates.

Announcement Jennifer Bowles

Bidding Adieu to a Giant in the California Water World
Bill Gianelli paved the way for generations of water leaders

Last week, we lost a giant in the California water world. 

Bill Gianelli wasn’t just a director of the state’s Department of Water Resources, he was a key founding figure of the Water Education Foundation.

In the 1990s he left an endowment to help launch our Water Leaders program. Today there are more than 400 graduates across California and beyond.

Announcement

Latest Western Water Examines Plan To Use Carbon Credits To Aid Delta Islands and Protect California’s Vital Water Hub
Article explores how carbon credits could offer incentives to convert Delta islands to wetlands or rice to halt subsidence and potentially raise island elevations

Equipment on this tower measures fluctuations in greenhouse gas emissions for managed wetlands on Sherman Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta release tons of carbon dioxide — a greenhouse gas — into the atmosphere as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays.

An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and — just as important — help protect California’s vital water conveyance system by offering farmers and landowners an incentive to change how they use their land. The latest article in Western Water explores how the plan would work, looks at the concerns of some in agriculture, and talks with one farmer who’s willing to give it a try.

Announcement

San Joaquin Valley’s Water Issues and Challenges Explored on Central Valley Tour April 22-24
Early-bird tickets end March 11 for this tour that visits dams, water projects, farms, wildlife areas and more on educational trek through valley

Farmer Joe Del Bosque talks with Central Valley Tour participants during a stop at his orchard. Weave through the nation’s breadbasket and gain a better understanding of water issues and challenges in the San Joaquin Valley on the Foundation’s Central Valley Tour April 22-24

This tour visits farms and major infrastructure, such as Friant Dam near Fresno and San Luis Reservoir, the nation’s largest off-stream reservoir near Los Banos and a key water facility serving both the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.

Announcement

Jennifer Harder and Brian Gray to Keynote Annual Anne Schneider Lecture
Free event focused on water law, policy & conservation to be held April 1 at Crocker Art Museum in Sacramento

Jennnifer Harder, an associate professor at McGeorge School of Law in Sacramento, will be one of two speakers at the Anne J. Schneider Lecture in Sacramento, Calif..  The 2020 Anne J. Schneider Lecture, which encourages professional and personal commitment to water law and policy and the conservation of our special landscapes, will feature two distinguished speakers: Jennifer Harder, an associate professor at the McGeorge School of Law, and Brian Gray, a senior fellow at the Public Policy Institute of California’s Water Policy Center and professor emeritus at UC Hastings College of the Law.

Can Carbon Credits Save Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Islands and Protect California’s Vital Water Hub?
An ambitious plan would use carbon credits as incentives to convert Delta islands to wetlands or rice to halt subsidence and potentially raise island elevations

Equipment on this tower measures fluctuations in greenhouse gas emissions for managed wetlands on Sherman Island in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.The islands of the western Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta are sinking as the rich peat soil that attracted generations of farmers dries out and decays. As the peat decomposes, it releases tons of carbon dioxide – a greenhouse gas – into the atmosphere. As the islands sink, the levees that protect them are at increasing risk of failure, which could imperil California’s vital water conveyance system.

An ambitious plan now in the works could halt the decay, sequester the carbon and potentially reverse the sinking.

Topock Gorge
Announcement

Join Us on One of Three Water Tours Scheduled through June
Learn about the water issues up close on the Lower Colorado River, in the Central Valley and across the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Our tours are one of the best ways to learn about water issues in California and the West. You come face-to-face with infrastructure that moves water to cities, farms and wildlife refuges, hear directly from farmers, environmentalists and other stakeholders and understand the critical role water plays in sustaining life, growing food and maintaining wetlands and other water bodies for the environment.

Join us for one of these upcoming tours. Act fast! Early-bird prices are still available for the Central Valley and Bay-Delta tours.

Announcement

Last Chance To Register For Water 101 Workshop Next Week In Sacramento
Feb. 20th workshop includes optional one-day tour the next day

There’s just one week left until our Water 101 workshop and optional tour! Register today for this once-a-year opportunity!

Attendees at the Feb. 20 workshop will hear from a variety of experts about important and current issues in California water management and policy, including the Delta, sustainable groundwater management, Gov. Newsom’s draft Water Resilience Portfolio, impacts to water resources from climate change and more.

Announcement

Latest Western Water Article Explores Plan to Bring Climate Resilience to California Water With Nancy Vogel
Former journalist and veteran water communicator explains how portfolio came together and why it should matter to average Californians

Shortly after Gov. Gavin Newsom called on state agencies to deliver a Water Resilience Portfolio to meet California’s urgent challenges — from unsafe drinking water and climate change risks to severely depleted groundwater aquifers and declining native fish populations — he appointed Nancy Vogel, a former journalist and veteran water communicator, to pull it together.

In an interview with Western Water, Vogel explains how the draft portfolio released Jan. 3 came together, its expected role in helping to guide policy and investment decisions related to climate and water resilience — and why the portfolio should matter to average Californians.

Announcement

New Experience Announced for Lower Colorado River Tour: Topock Gorge Boat Trip
Explore Natural Wonders and Ecological Challenges Firsthand March 11-13

For the first time, participants on the Foundation’s Lower Colorado River Tour will enjoy a scenic journey on the river through portions of the Havasu National Wildlife Refuge, including Topock Gorge and the Havasu Wilderness Area.

Seating is limited for the March 11-13 tour, so register here to ensure your spot!

Our annual Lower Colorado River tour explores the critical 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, farms and wildlife areas.

Western Water Gary Pitzer California Water Map Gary Pitzer

Meet the Veteran Insider Who’s Shepherding Gov. Newsom’s Plan to Bring Climate Resilience to California Water
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Former journalist Nancy Vogel explains how the draft California Water Resilience Portfolio came together and why it’s expected to guide future state decisions

Nancy Vogel, director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program, highlights key points in the draft Water Resilience Portfolio last month for the Water Education Foundation's 2020 Water Leaders class. Shortly after taking office in 2019, Gov. Gavin Newsom called on state agencies to deliver a Water Resilience Portfolio to meet California’s urgent challenges — unsafe drinking water, flood and drought risks from a changing climate, severely depleted groundwater aquifers and native fish populations threatened with extinction.

Within days, he appointed Nancy Vogel, a former journalist and veteran water communicator, as director of the Governor’s Water Portfolio Program to help shepherd the monumental task of compiling all the information necessary for the portfolio. The three state agencies tasked with preparing the document delivered the draft Water Resilience Portfolio Jan. 3. The document, which Vogel said will help guide policy and investment decisions related to water resilience, is nearing the end of its comment period, which goes through Friday, Feb. 7.

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