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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.

A Colorado River Tribal Leader Seeks A Voice In the River’s Future–And Freedom to Profit From Its Water
WESTERN WATER Q&A: CRIT Chair Amelia Flores Says Allowing Tribe to Lease Or Store Water Off Reservation Could Aid Broader Colorado River Drought Response and Fund Irrigation Repairs

Amelia Flores, chairwoman of the Colorado River Indian Tribes.As water interests in the Colorado River Basin prepare to negotiate a new set of operating guidelines for the drought-stressed river, Amelia Flores wants her Colorado River Indian Tribes (CRIT) to be involved in the discussion. And she wants CRIT seated at the negotiating table with something invaluable to offer on a river facing steep cuts in use: its surplus water.

CRIT, whose reservation lands in California and Arizona are bisected by the Colorado River, has some of the most senior water rights on the river. But a federal law enacted in the late 1700s, decades before any southwestern state was established, prevents most tribes from sending any of its water off its reservation. The restrictions mean CRIT, which holds the rights to nearly a quarter of the entire state of Arizona’s yearly allotment of river water, is missing out on financial gain and the chance to help its river partners.

Aerial view of Lake Shasta, showing the effects of drought

Registration Now Open for Northern California & San Joaquin River Restoration Tours
Join our fall tours focused on California's two largest rivers to explore drought impacts, salmon restoration efforts and more

Register today for the return of our in-person fall tours offering participants a firsthand look at issues such as drought along California’s two longest rivers, which have implications for the entire state.

Our Northern California Tour explores the Sacramento River and its tributaries to learn about key reservoirs and infrastructure that conveys vital water resources across California. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour returns this year to dive into the story of bringing back the river’s chinook salmon population while balancing water supply needs.


Mark Your Calendars for the Foundation’s Fall Programs Including Water Leaders Reunion
Save the Dates for our Annual Water Summit & Tours of the State's Two Largest Rivers

​Mark your calendars now for our full schedule of fall programs, including a reunion of our Water Leaders graduates to celebrate the 25th anniversary of the program as well as the in-person return of our 38th annual Water Summit.

Our fall programming also includes tours exploring California’s two largest rivers, the Sacramento and the San Joaquin, to learn more about infrastructure, the impacts on farms and habitat from a third year of drought and salmon restoration efforts.

Check out the details below to learn more about these fall programs.


Latest Western Water Article Examines How Groundwater Managers Are Reworking ‘Incomplete’ Plans to Meet Sustainability Goals
More than half of the most critically overdrawn basins, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, are racing against a July deadline to retool their plans and avoid state intervention

Managers of California’s most overdrawn aquifers were given a monumental task under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Craft viable, detailed plans on a 20-year timeline to bring their beleaguered basins into balance. Altogether, they submitted plans for 20 basins for review by the California Department of Water Resources in January 2020. Earlier this year, DWR rendered its verdict: Most of the basin plans were incomplete.

Now groundwater agencies responsible for 12 of those basins are racing to meet a late July deadline to submit revised plans that measure up to SGMA’s requirements or risk the state stepping in to manage their groundwater basins. Despite the state’s verdict, some groundwater managers say they believe they’re well on their way to making the changes needed to ultimately win the state’s approval.

In our latest article, Western Water explored the array of challenges these groundwater managers face in getting their sustainability plans to fulfill the state’s requirements, how some agencies were able to largely meet the state’s expectations, and what lies ahead for those plans that fell short.


2021 Annual Report Recaps Water Education Efforts in California And the West Amid a Global Pandemic
Water Education Foundation report highlights a year of challenges, accomplishment and gratitude

Cover image of the 2021 Annual ReportThe Water Education Foundation’s just-released 2021 Annual Report recaps how, even amid the ongoing global pandemic, we continued educating about the most crucial natural resource in California and the West — water. 

The annual report takes readers along to see the array of educational events, trainings and articles we produced last year, including engaging virtual water tours that educated participants on pressing water issues and allowed them to interact with each other and a wide range of experts offering different viewpoints. 

As New Deadline Looms, Groundwater Managers Rework ‘Incomplete’ Plans to Meet California’s Sustainability Goals
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: More than half of the most critically overdrawn basins, mainly in the San Joaquin Valley, are racing against a July deadline to retool their plans and avoid state intervention

A field in Kern County is irrigated by sprinkler.Managers of California’s most overdrawn aquifers were given a monumental task under the state’s landmark Sustainable Groundwater Management Act: Craft viable, detailed plans on a 20-year timeline to bring their beleaguered basins into balance. It was a task that required more than 250 newly formed local groundwater agencies – many of them in the drought-stressed San Joaquin Valley – to set up shop, gather data, hear from the public and collaborate with neighbors on multiple complex plans, often covering just portions of a groundwater basin.


We’re Hiring! Join the Water Education Foundation Team as our Development Director

Join the team at the Water Education Foundation, a highly respected and impartial nonprofit that has been a trusted source of water news and educational programming in California and across the West for more than 40 years.  

We have a full-time opening for a dynamic, strategic and energetic development director to generate grant support and other funding for programs carried out by our events and journalism teams. 

Aerial view of Lake Shasta, showing the effects of drought

Save the Date for Our Fall Tours Exploring California’s Two Largest Rivers
Join our tours focused on the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers to learn more about drought impacts, salmon restoration efforts

Mark your calendars now for our upcoming fall 2022 tours exploring California’s two largest rivers – the Sacramento and San Joaquin rivers! 

On our Northern California Tour, Oct. 12-14, participants can learn about key reservoirs and infrastructure that transports vital water resources statewide. Our San Joaquin River Restoration Tour Nov. 2-3 returns this year to tell the story of bringing back a river’s chinook salmon while balancing water supply needs. Registration is coming soon!

As Drought Shrinks the Colorado River, A SoCal Giant Seeks Help from River Partners to Fortify its Local Supply
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Metropolitan Water District's wastewater recycling project draws support from Arizona and Nevada, which hope to gain a share of Metropolitan's river supply

Metropolitan Water District's advanced water treatment demonstration plant in Carson. Momentum is building for a unique interstate deal that aims to transform wastewater from Southern California homes and business into relief for the stressed Colorado River. The collaborative effort to add resiliency to a river suffering from overuse, drought and climate change is being shaped across state lines by some of the West’s largest water agencies.  

Participants on the Central Valley Tour

Last Chance to Sign Up for Central Valley Tour; Save the Date for Water Leaders Alum Reunion; Meet our Team at an Open House

  • Don’t miss your once-a-year chance to go on our Central Valley Tour and visit the epicenter of California’s drought and groundwater sustainability efforts across one of the nation’s most critical agricultural landscapes. Registration ends this Friday, April 15, at noon.
  • If you’re a graduate of our Water Leaders program, save the date for a reunion event in October to mark the 25th anniversary of our program!
  • Swing by our new Sacramento office during our May 5 open house.

We’re Hosting an Open House and Reception May 5 at Our New Office
Meet our team and learn about the various ways the Foundation educates and fosters public understanding about water

Join us May 5 for an open house and reception at our new Sacramento office near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers. Stop by anytime between 2:30 and 5:30 p.m. to meet our staff and learn more about what we do to educate and inspire understanding of California’s most precious natural resource — water.

If you are attending the ACWA conference that week in Sacramento and heading back to the airport Thursday afternoon we are right on the way!


Explore Epicenter of Drought and Groundwater Sustainability on the Central Valley Tour
Tickets Are Going Fast For Our April 20-22 Trip Through The San Joaquin Valley

Mendota PoolThe San Joaquin Valley is at the epicenter of California’s myriad water challenges, confronting little to no water deliveries and increasing pressure to reduce groundwater usage to sustainable levels. A third straight disappointingly dry winter is deepening water security concerns across one of the country’s most critical agricultural landscapes. 

How are the water suppliers that have been largely cut off from state and federal projects going to get through the summer? And will there be enough water this year to satisfy the competing needs of farms, people and the environment?

Your best opportunity to understand this region’s challenges and opportunities is to join us on our Central Valley Tour April 20-22.


Last Chance to Sign Up for Water 101; Meet our Team at an Open House; Explore Drought and Other Issues on Central Valley Tour
Open House Offers Chance to See Foundation's New Office; Latest Western Water Article Is Interview With New EPA Region 9 Administrator

As drought grips California and much of the West, water challenges intensify. Our Water 101 Workshop on April 8 is your once-a-year opportunity to gain a foundational understanding of water in California and learn more about the drought and other hot topics. You can also visit ground zero for drought impacts as we tour the San Joaquin Valley next month during our Central Valley Tour.

And in May, visit our new office and meet the people who carry out our programs and keep our nonprofit humming along during our Open House. You can read the latest Western Water article by our journalism team on the new head of the Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9 office, Martha Guzman, who happens to be a graduate of our premier Water Leaders class.

Water 101 Workshop – The Basics & Beyond: April 8

Participants at Water 101 WorkshopOur annual Water 101 Workshop in Sacramento will help you gain a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource. The workshop is taught by some of the leading policy and legal experts in the state and will provide critical background on California’s water basics, such as:
•    California’s water geography, history and hydrology
•    California’s complex water rights system
•    Regulatory agencies and their roles at the state and federal levels
•    Navigating the state’s legislative process relative to water policy

New EPA Regional Administrator Tackles Water Needs with a Wealth of Experience and $1 Billion in Federal Funding
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Martha Guzman says surge of federal dollars offers 'greatest opportunity' to address longstanding water needs, including for tribes & disadvantaged communities in EPA Region 9

EPA Region 9 Administrator Martha Guzman.Martha Guzman recalls those awful days working on water and other issues as a deputy legislative secretary for then-Gov. Jerry Brown. California was mired in a recession and the state’s finances were deep in the red. Parks were cut, schools were cut, programs were cut to try to balance a troubled state budget in what she remembers as “that terrible time.”

She now finds herself in a strikingly different position: As administrator of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s Region 9, she has a mandate to address water challenges across California, Nevada, Arizona and Hawaii and $1 billion to help pay for it. It is the kind of funding, she said, that is usually spread out over a decade. Guzman called it the “absolutely greatest opportunity.”


Go Deep into the Nation’s Breadbasket to Explore Water Issues on the Central Valley Tour April 20-22
Just a few seats remain for our trip that traverses the San Joaquin Valley to learn about drought, sustainable groundwater use and more

Mendota PoolAs a third year of drought looms, Central Valley farmers and water managers are bracing for little to no water deliveries from state and federal projects this year. Aquifers are under stress and pressure is growing to reduce groundwater depletion and the resulting ground subsidence. How is the region meeting the requirements of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act? And will there be enough water this year to satisfy the competing needs of farms, people and the environment?

Your best opportunity to understand the challenges and opportunities of this vital resource in the nation’s breadbasket is to join us on our Central Valley Tour April 20-22.


Latest in Drought, Water Rights Curtailments Among Hot Topics Explored at Water 101 Workshop
Workshop (April 8) and Optional Groundwater Tour (April 7) to Cover California Water Basics & Beyond

Go beyond the headlines and learn more about how California is adjusting to the grim reality of a third year of drought while keeping an eye on groundwater use, often the go-to source when surface supplies run dry.

Some of California’s top experts will address a variety of critical issues affecting the state’s most precious natural resource at our April 8 Water 101 Workshop in Sacramento. But space is limited! 

Don’t miss your once-a-year opportunity to learn more about topics in the news such as the statewide drought, water quality in the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta and efforts to comply with the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act by registering today.


2022 Colorado River Water Leaders Class Evaluates River Management Beyond 2025
Rising stars in the water world chosen for highly competitive leadership program

Colorado River Water Leaders pose at the base of Hoover Dam on the Colorado River. Thirteen early to mid-career water professionals from across the West have been chosen for the Water Education Foundation’s inaugural 2022 Colorado River Water Leaders Class.

Modeled after our California Water Leaders program, now marking its 25th anniversary, the Colorado River Water Leaders class also includes engineers, lawyers, resource specialists, scientists and others working for public, private and nongovernmental organizations from across the river’s basin. The 2022 class roster can be found here.


FLASH SALE: Expand Your Water Knowledge and Save Money on World Water Day
Special 30% discount offered for maps, layperson's guides & more, including map & guide on groundwater - this year's World Water Day theme

World Water Day is Tuesday, March 22, and to mark the occasion the Foundation is offering a limited-time 30 percent discount on our beautiful poster-size maps, Layperson’s Guides, map and guide bundles and our book, “Water & the Shaping of California.” 

Use the promo code WORLDWATERDAY2022 when checking out of our online store.


Learn About Hot Issues In California Water and Get Beyond the Headlines at Water 101 Workshop in April
Workshop and optional groundwater tour offer ideal way to gain statewide perspective on key water issues confronting California amid ongoing drought

As drought tightens its grip on California, our Water 101 Workshop on April 8 is your once-a-year chance to get beyond the headlines to learn more about the state’s most precious natural resource and the hot issues confronting the state, like groundwater sustainability, water rights, and clean, safe and affordable drinking water.


Deepen Your Knowledge of Groundwater During Upcoming April Workshop, Tours
Water 101 Workshop & optional Groundwater Tour offers deep dive into key water supply; Central Valley Tour includes SGMA impacts

Groundwater gushes from a pump in the Sacramento Valley. This week’s National Groundwater Awareness Week is a reminder of just how important groundwater is for nearly 85 percent of California’s residents who depend on it for some portion of their supply. In all, groundwater quenches some 40 percent of the state’s freshwater needs — even more in a drought year like we’re having now.