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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.

Western Water California Groundwater Map Layperson's Guide to Groundwater By Nick Cahill

New California Law Bolsters Groundwater Recharge as Strategic Defense Against Climate Change
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Designates Aquifers 'Natural Infrastructure' to Boost Funding for Water Supply, Flood Control, Wildlife Habitat

Groundwater recharge in Madera CountyA new but little-known change in California law designating aquifers as “natural infrastructure” promises to unleash a flood of public funding for projects that increase the state’s supply of groundwater.

The change is buried in a sweeping state budget-related law, enacted in July, that also makes it easier for property owners and water managers to divert floodwater for storage underground.


Registration Now Open for October 25 Water Summit in Sacramento
One-day conference is the Foundation's premier annual event; Grab one of the last tickets for Eastern Sierra Tour

​You can now register for the Water Education Foundation’s 39th annual Water Summit. The one-day conference will have leading policymakers and experts sharing the latest information and insights on water in California and the West. The event includes an evening reception for networking with speakers and fellow attendees from a variety of backgrounds.


Epic Fall Tours Nearly Sold Out; Water Summit Theme Announced; Learn About the Science Behind the Klamath Dam Removals
Few Seats Remain for One-Time-Only Eastern Sierra Tour & Popular Northern California Tour

It may be the dog days of summer but it’s a busy time at the Foundation! 

  • Registration opens soon for our annual Water Summit on Oct. 25 in Sacramento. This year’s theme has been set!
  • Learn about the science happening behind the scenes on the Klamath River dam removals in the latest article from our Western Water journalism team.
  • Don’t miss out! Reserve one of the few remaining spots on our fall tours along the Eastern Sierra and across Northern California.

‘If You Unbuild It, They Will Come’
Scientists Chart Transformation of Klamath River and Its Salmon Amid Nation’s Largest Dam Removal Project

The Copco No. 1 dam on the Klamath RiverThe Klamath River Basin was once one of the world’s most ecologically magnificent regions, a watershed teeming with salmon, migratory birds and wildlife that thrived alongside Native American communities. The river flowed rapidly from its headwaters in southern Oregon’s high deserts into Upper Klamath Lake, collected snowmelt along a narrow gorge through the Cascades, then raced downhill to the California coast in a misty, redwood-lined finish.


One-Time Only Eastern Sierra Tour Explores Major Water Source for Southern California
Don't miss the special Foundation journey Sept 12-15 highlighting water issues with statewide connections

The bus is nearly full for our special, one-time only Eastern Sierra Tour September 12-15 that will journey from the Truckee, Carson and Walker river basins to Mono Lake and on through Owens Valley to explore, in part, a major water source for Southern California.


Get a Ticket While They Last for Epic Fall Water Tours, Including One-Time Only Eastern Sierra Tour
Save the Date for Annual Water Summit in October

Registration has only been open for a few weeks and the buses are already nearing capacity for our fall tours along the Eastern Sierra and across Northern California! See below for more details and reserve your spot soon for both don’t-miss, firsthand experiences before they’re gone. Plus, mark your calendars now for our Water Summit in Sacramento, the Foundation’s premier annual event.


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.