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
What We Do
We support and execute a wide variety of programming to build a
better understanding of water resources across the West,
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
Grab a ticket while they last for
our fall tours along the
Eastern Sierra and across Northern
California. See below for more information and
registration details on both don’t-miss opportunities to
get a firsthand look at the facilities, the rivers and
regions critical in the debate about the future of water
We’re hiring a development director – check out the posting
Don’t miss your opportunity to hop aboard our
Headwaters Tourlater this
month as we head into the Sierra Nevada to learn
about upper watersheds and the critical role they play in both
water supply and quality across California.
Plus, mark your calendars now for our fall
A new underground mapping technology
that reveals the best spots for storing surplus water in
California’s Central Valley is providing a big boost to the
state’s most groundwater-dependent communities.
The maps provided by the California Department of Water Resources
for the first time pinpoint paleo valleys and similar prime
underground storage zones traditionally found with some guesswork
by drilling exploratory wells and other more time-consuming
manual methods. The new maps are drawn from data on the
composition of underlying rock and soil gathered by low-flying
helicopters towing giant magnets.
The unique peeks below ground are saving water agencies’
resources and allowing them to accurately devise ways to capture
water from extreme storms and soak or inject the surplus
underground for use during the next drought.
“Understanding where you’re putting and taking water from really
helps, versus trying to make multimillion-dollar decisions based
on a thumb and which way the wind is blowing,” said Aaron Fukuda,
general manager of the Tulare Irrigation District, an early
adopter of the airborne electromagnetic or
AEM technology in California.
The Water Education Foundation’s
just-released 2022 Annual Report recaps how
we returned to hosting in-person events and tours and
expanded our programs across the West as the global pandemic
began to wane early in the year.
TourJune 21-22 will take
you into the Sierra Nevada to explore the impacts of
this year’s historically large snowpack, reported at well
over 200% of average. Remaining seats are limited so don’t
miss your chance to examine water issues happening upstream that
have dramatic effects throughout the state.
What exactly is an ‘average’ snowpack and how is it measured? How
are those measurements then translated into forecasts of
California’s water supply for the year, and is climate change
making our reliance on historical patterns as a predictor
obsolete? You’ll get an opportunity to learn about
these topics directly from experts including Sean de
Guzman, manager of the California Department of Water Resources
Snow Surveys and Water Supply Forecasting Unit.
Our Headwaters TouronJune 21-22 returns in
person for the first time in four years and seats are filling up
quickly! Don’t miss your chance to venture from the
foothills of the Sierra Nevada to Lake Tahoe to examine
water issues happening upstream that can dramatically affect
communities downstream and throughout the state.
Today is Big Day of Giving, and your donation can
help the Water Education Foundation continue its work to enhance
public understanding about water in California and across the
Big Day of Giving is a 24-hour regional fundraising event that
has profound benefits for our programs and publications that
educate about hot topics in water, such as drought, floods,
groundwater, headwaters and more in California and the Colorado
Don’t miss your opportunity to put your feet on the ground
this spring in regions critical to California’s water story.
Plus, you can meet our team in person at our annual
open house to learn more about how we educate and
foster understanding of California’s most precious natural
resource — water! And check out our latest Western Water
news article that explores how states in the upper watershed of
the Colorado River are trying to strengthen their negotiating
position as severe water cuts loom amid shrinking reservoirs and
The states of the Lower Colorado
River Basin have traditionally played an oversized role in
tapping the lifeline that supplies 40 million people in the West.
California, Nevada and Arizona were quicker to build major canals
and dams and negotiated a landmark deal that requires the Upper
Basin to send predictable flows through the Grand Canyon, even
during dry years.
But with the federal government threatening unprecedented water
cuts amid decades of drought and declining reservoirs, the Upper
Basin states of Wyoming, Utah, Colorado and New Mexico are
muscling up to protect their shares of an overallocated river
whose average flows in the Upper Basin have already dropped
20 percent over the last century.
They have formed new agencies to better monitor their interests,
moved influential Colorado River veterans into top negotiating
posts and improved their relationships with Native American
tribes that also hold substantial claims to the river.
There is no need to wait to show
your love for the Water Education Foundation! Starting today you
can schedule your donation for Big Day of Giving on our
campaign page. If you prefer the thrill of watching us reach
our $10,000 goal in real time you can donate any time on May 4.
Big Day of Giving is a 24-hour online giving marathon for
nonprofits in the Sacramento region where we are based. However,
while Big Day of Giving is region-focused, our campaign will
benefit our programs and publications across California
and the West.
Don’t miss your chance to go deep into California’s water hub
next month with our most popular annual tour, the Bay-Delta Tour May
17-19! Plus, registration is now open for the
return of our Headwaters Tour June
21-22, with an optional rafting trip on the American
River the day before.
Spring is a busy time at the Foundation! Don’t miss
these upcoming opportunities to visit important regions in
the state’s water story firsthand and engage directly with
experts in California water. Plus, you can meet our team in
person at our annual open house to learn more about how we
educate and foster understanding of California’s most precious
natural resource — water!
– Terry Fulp, who served as the Bureau of Reclamation’s
regional director for the Lower Colorado River Basin and played a
lead role in negotiating drought contingency plans, operating
guidelines and binational agreements with Mexico, was
elected president of the Water Education Foundation’s board of
The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta is
the West Coast’s largest estuary, a vital hub in California’s
complex water delivery system and a rich farming area. But the
region faces myriad challenges.
On our annual Bay-Delta Tour May
17-19, participants will hear from a diverse group
of experts including water managers, environmentalists, farmers,
engineers and scientists who will offer various perspectives on a
proposed tunnel project that would carry water beneath the Delta,
efforts to revitalize the Delta and risks that threaten its
delicate ecological balance. You’ll also hear firsthand from
people who rely on the Pacific salmon fishery for their
livelihoods and learn why there is likely to be a fishing ban
this season despite one of the wettest winters on record in
Join us May 4 for our annual
House & Reception at our office near the Sacramento
River to meet our team and learn more about what we do to educate
and foster understanding of California’s most precious natural
resource — water!
for our most popular tour, the Bay-Delta Tour May
17-19, and join us as we venture into the most
critical and controversial water region in California, the
Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta.
The 720,000-acre network of islands and channels 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.
You’ll learn firsthand how the drought-to-deluge of 2023 has
affected the water quality and supply that serves local
farms, cities and habitat. Much of the water heads south via
canals and aqueducts to provide drinking water for more than 27
million Californians and irrigation to about 3 million acres of
farmland that helps feed the nation.
Tiny pieces of plastic shed from
food wrappers, grocery bags, clothing, cigarette butts, tires and
paint are invading the environment and every facet of daily life.
Researchers know the plastic particles have even made it into
municipal water supplies, but very little data exists about the
scope of microplastic contamination in drinking water.
After years of planning, California is embarking on a
first-of-its-kind data-gathering mission to illuminate how
prevalent microplastics are in the state’s largest drinking water
sources. The latest Western Water article by our
journalism team explores California’s groundbreaking program
that could help regulators determine whether microplastics
are a public health threat and lead to the world’s first standard
for microplastics in drinking water.