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Overview Jenn 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.


Registration Now Open for Tours Along Eastern Sierra and Across Sacramento Valley; We’re Hiring!
Reserve Your Spot Now for One-Time Only Eastern Sierra Tour!

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 resources.

We’re hiring a development director – check out the posting below!


Save the Dates for Our Fall Tours

Mark your calendars for our fall water tours along the Eastern Sierra and across Northern California.

Image shows participants on our Headwaters Tour listening to a Forest Service ranger.

Last Chance to Register for Headwaters Tour; Save the Dates for Fall Tours & Water Summit

Don’t miss your opportunity to hop aboard our Headwaters Tour later 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 programs, including:

High-Tech Mapping of Central Valley’s Underground Blazes Path to Drought Resilience
Aerial Surveillance Reveals Best Spots to Store Floodwater for Dry Times but Delivering the Surplus Remains Thorny

Helicopter towing an AEM loopA 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.


Our 2022 Annual Report is Hot off the Press!
As COVID eased, the Foundation revved up and expanded programs across the West

2022 Annual Report coverThe 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.


Epic Sierra Snowpack Headlines Headwaters Tour in June
Guided Rafting Trip on American River Available the Day Before

Our Headwaters Tour June 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.


Explore Sierra Water Issues Firsthand on Headwaters Tour in June
Optional Pre-Tour Whitewater Rafting Trip Available

Our Headwaters Tour on June 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.


There’s Still Time to Support Your Favorite Water Nonprofit on Big Day of Giving
You have until midnight to give a tax-deductible donation

Big Day of Giving is nearly over but you still have until midnight to show your love for the Water Education Foundation’s events, publications and programs with a donation to our campaign page.

BDOG logo

Support Your Favorite Water Nonprofit Today on Big Day of Giving!

On Big Day of Giving, you can show your love by helping the Water Education Foundation continue to be a go-to resource for in-depth, impartial information about water in California and the West.

We are midway through Big Day of Giving, a 24-hour regional fundraising event that benefits our programs to educate about floods, drought, groundwater, climate change and more. 


Big Day of Giving is here! Make a BIG Splash for Water Education with a Donation
And join us today from 3:30 to 6:30 p.m. for our open house

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 West.

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 River Basin.

Image shows participants on our Bay-Delta Tour at Suisun Marsh.

Seating Limited for Spring Tours; Meet our Team at Open House; Push to Protect Upper Colorado River Interests Examined

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 persistent drought. 

Upper Colorado River States Add Muscle as Decisions Loom on the Shrinking River’s Future
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Upper Basin States Seek Added Leverage to Protect Their River Shares Amid Difficult Talks with California and the Lower Basin

The White River winds and meanders through a valley.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.


Early ‘Big Day of Giving’ Begins Today!
Schedule your donation to support our water tours, publications and more; Attend our open house May 4

Images shows Big Day of Giving logoThere 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.


Explore the Heart of California Water Next Month on Bay-Delta Tour; Registration Now Open for June Headwaters Tour
Optional Pre-Tour Whitewater Rafting Trip Offered with Sierra Nevada Journey

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.

See below for more details on both spring tours.


Join Our Once-A-Year Bay-Delta Tour; Meet our Team at an Open House; Registration Coming Soon for Headwaters Tour
Optional Rafting Trip Offered with June Headwaters Tour

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!


Former Director for Reclamation’s Lower Colorado River Region Elected Board President of Water Education Foundation
Terry Fulp Played Lead Role in Negotiating Drought Contingency Plans, Operating Guidelines and Binational Agreements

Terry FulpSACRAMENTO, Calif. – 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 directors.


Bay-Delta Tour is a Once-a-Year, Don’t-Miss Opportunity to Explore California’s Vital Water Hub May 17-19
Hear diverse views & go behind the scenes on our popular tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta & San Francisco Bay

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 California.


RSVP for Our Annual Open House on May 4th
Meet our team & learn about tours, events, publications, teacher training workshops & leadership programs for up-and-coming water professionals

Join us May 4 for our annual Open 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!


Join Us for a Journey through the Bay-Delta in May
Get a firsthand look at California's vital water hub and hear directly from experts on key issues affecting the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta

Register today 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.


Latest Western Water Article Examines California’s Groundbreaking Effort to Look for Microplastics in Drinking Water Supplies
On World Water Day, learn about additional resources available on water in California and across the West

Photo shows bits of plastic at the bottom of a laboratory jar. 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.