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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.


Applications for 2022 Water Leaders Class Now Available
Apply by Dec. 7 for program that promotes a deeper understanding of statewide water issues

Water Leader takes notes during orientation.Applications are now available for our yearlong Water Leaders class.

One of our most popular programs, the Water Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues and building leadership skills with class members by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor. 


Oct. 28 Water Summit Panel to Examine Drought Impacts Across California
Optional In-person Sacramento River Cruise Reception to Follow Engaging Afternoon Online Event

Lake Oroville, September 2021Register today for our Water Summit, hosted this year as an engaging virtual experience on the afternoon of Oct. 28, to hear a variety of perspectives detailing the on-the-ground impacts of the the current drought in California.


Applications Open Soon for Water Leaders Program, Which Marks Its 25th Year in 2022
Yearlong program offers early- to mid-career professionals a deeper understanding of California water issues; named for former DWR Director Bill Gianelli

Water Leader takes notes during an orientation session. Applications will soon be available for our yearlong Water Leaders class, which will mark its 25th year in 2022, so now is the time to start polishing those resumes and seeking support from employers.

One of our most popular programs, the William R. “Bill” Gianelli Water Leaders class is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues and building leadership skills with class members by studying a water-related topic in-depth and working with a mentor.


Visit Oroville and Shasta Dams, Rice Farms, Wetlands and More During our Online Northern California Tour
Grab Your Ticket While They Last for our Engaging Virtual Journey into the Sacramento Valley Oct. 14

Reconstructed Oroville SpillwayRegister now for next week’s virtual Northern California Tour on Oct. 14 to explore the Sacramento River and its tributaries and learn about issues associated with a key source for the state’s water supply, including the drought now gripping California.

During the afternoon online event, you’ll visit rice farms and wetlands in the Sacramento Valley and hear from farmers and environmentalists about efforts to restore runs of endangered chinook salmon and help birds along the Pacific Flyway. You’ll also get up close to Oroville Dam, a key component of the State Water Project, and learn how its two spillways were repaired following a catastrophic 2017 storm, and visit other major infrastructure such as Shasta Dam, part of the federal Central Valley Project. In addition, you’ll visit the area being eyed for the proposed Sites Reservoir. Seating on the virtual “tour bus” is limited, so get your ticket here


Registration Now Open for the Foundation’s California Water Summit
Join us online Oct. 28 for our annual premier event; Optional In-person Sacramento River cruise reception to follow

Aerial photo of a portion of Lake Oroville in July 2021 showing almost no water, the result of a two-year drought.Registration is now open for the Foundation’s Water Summit, hosted this year as an engaging virtual experience on the afternoon of Oct. 28, followed by an optional in-person reception during an open-air cruise along the Sacramento River.

With the theme, Pivoting Today’s Pain into Tomorrow’s Gain, the online event will examine what’s being done to get through the drought now gripping California and highlight some of the innovative programs, projects and partnerships aimed at addressing the challenges. 

Our annual premier event now in its 37th year, the Water Summit features policymakers, water managers and other water experts who will provide the latest information and viewpoints on issues affecting water across California and the West. 

Find more details and register here. Members of the Foundation get discounted prices to attend. 


Journey along the Sacramento River and Into Other Key California Watersheds During Virtual Events this Fall
Enjoy our NorCal Tour Oct. 14 and Travel Into the Sierras for our Headwaters Tour Nov. 9; Don't Forget our Virtual Water Summit event Oct. 28

The Foundation’s virtual journeys will whisk you away to explore California’s key rivers and water regions this fall from the Sacramento River to the headwaters in the Sierras.

Plus, our annual Water Summit will feature water managers and other water experts who are dealing with the “new normal” as unprecedented drought and wildfires challenge the status quo.


2020 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

The Water Education Foundation’s just-released 2020 Annual Report recaps how, even in the midst of a 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. 


Reserve Your Spot for a Virtual Journey into California’s Water Hub
'Seating' is limited for next Thursday's Bay-Delta Tour that includes overview presentation, exclusive video tour screening and live Q&A with experts in chat rooms

The Delta map at Big Break Regional ShorelineJoin us next Thursday, Sept. 9, for an engaging online Bay-Delta Tour that will feature live Q&A with key experts on the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the state’s vital water hub and the West Coast’s largest freshwater tidal estuary.

You’ll learn about Delta ecosystem restoration, impacts to ocean fisheries from changes in the Delta, agriculture and municipal water use and the Delta’s role in supplying water to Southern California. You’ll hear from farmers, fish biologists, water managers, people working on restoration efforts and more. Plus, you’ll get your hands on the newest update of our Layperson’s Guide to the Delta, published in 2020.

‘Seating’ on the virtual tour bus is limited, though, so get your ticket here!

Water-Starved Colorado River Delta Gets Another Shot of Life from the River’s Flows
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: Despite water shortages along the drought-stressed river, experimental flows resume in Mexico to revive trees and provide habitat for birds and wildlife

Water flowing into a Colorado River Delta restoration site in Mexico.Water is flowing once again to the Colorado River’s delta in Mexico, a vast region that was once a natural splendor before the iconic Western river was dammed and diverted at the turn of the last century, essentially turning the delta into a desert.

In 2012, the idea emerged that water could be intentionally sent down the river to inundate the delta floodplain and regenerate native cottonwood and willow trees, even in an overallocated river system. Ultimately, dedicated flows of river water were brokered under cooperative efforts by the U.S. and Mexican governments.


Water Summit and Headwaters Tour to go Virtual this Fall

The Water Education Foundation was hoping to host a few in-person events this fall (and you told us in a survey that you wanted us to) but with the rise in the Delta variant of COVID-19 cases, we have decided to present our Water Summit and Headwaters Tour in a virtual format.

However, while our annual Water Summit will be virtual on Oct. 28, we are hoping to include an optional outdoor reception aboard a boat for a Sacramento River cruise. Stay tuned for details!


Join our Team to Help Educate About the West’s Most Precious Natural Resource
We're seeking someone keenly interested in water issues to plan conferences, workshops and do multimedia; we also are looking for freelancers to help with writing & editing

Water Education Foundation logoThe Water Education Foundation has a full-time job opening for a programs and communications manager  interested in educating and informing the public about our most vital natural resource — water.

In addition, our news and publication team is looking for freelance writers with deep knowledge and experience covering water issues in California and the Colorado River Basin.

Announcement Layperson's Guide to the Delta

Explore California’s Vital Water Hub During Sept. 9 Virtual Journey
Join us online for diverse views & conversations on hot topics during our Bay-Delta Tour

The Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, the largest estuary on the West Coast, is a vital hub in California’s complex water delivery system as well as a rich farming region, an important wetlands area – and often, a source of conflict.

Join us for an engaging online journey on Sept. 9 to go deep into the Delta and its 720,000-acre network of islands and canals that supports the state’s two large water systems - the State Water Project and the federal Central Valley Project.


Grab Your Ticket for Virtual Journey into California’s Water Hub
Bay-Delta Tour includes overview presentation, exclusive video tour screening and live Q&A with experts in chat rooms

Join us for a Sept. 9 virtual journey into California’s most critical and controversial water region in the state, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, and learn how the drought is impacting water quality and supply.

The Delta, a 720,000-acre network of islands and canals, 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, forms an important ecological resource. 

Western Water California Water Map By Gary Pitzer

Long Troubled Salton Sea May Finally Be Getting What it Most Needs: Action — And Money
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: California's largest lake could see millions in potential funding to supercharge improvements to address long-delayed habitat and dust suppression needs

A sunset along the shoreline of California's Salton Sea.State work to improve wildlife habitat and tamp down dust at California’s ailing Salton Sea is finally moving forward. Now the sea may be on the verge of getting the vital ingredient needed to supercharge those restoration efforts – money.

The shrinking desert lake has long been a trouble spot beset by rising salinity and unhealthy, lung-irritating dust blowing from its increasingly exposed bed. It shadows discussions of how to address the Colorado River’s two-decade-long drought because of its connection to the system. The lake is a festering health hazard to nearby residents, many of them impoverished, who struggle with elevated asthma risk as dust rises from the sea’s receding shoreline. 


Whet Your Interest in Water With Our Array of Accessible Online Resources
Access the latest articles from our journalism team, keep on top of drought news and tap into our water encyclopedia

Curious about the significance of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta? Looking for the latest information on the drought hitting California and the West? Want to read up on some of the historic figures in California water?

The Water Education Foundation has an array of online resources to help you keep up with what’s new, what you need to know and what you might be curious about involving water in California and the West.


Registration Open for Virtual Journeys Into Key Water Regions This Fall
Engaging Online Events Include Overview Presentations, Guided Video Tours & Live Q&A With Experts in Chat Rooms

Immerse yourself in California’s key water sources this fall with the Foundation’s schedule of engaging virtual tours. 

Each tour event will run from 2:30-5:30 p.m. PT and includes:

  • An overview presentation of the region’s critical topics
  • A guided video tour of key locations — farms, wetlands, dams and reservoirs, wildlife habitats — to gain a stronger understanding on a variety of water supply issues and the latest policy developments
  • Live Q&A with experts in chat rooms so participants can dive deeper into the topics, including the drought gripping California.

As part of the events, participants will receive a copy of one of our Layperson’s Guides and be entered into a drawing to win one of our beautiful water maps.


Save the Dates for our Fall Events, Join our Team, Check Out Our Drought Page and Moving Sale
Foundation planning to offer a mix of in-person & online tours & events

Dear Friends and Supporters of the Water Education Foundation!

We hope everyone is enjoying their summer!

At the Foundation, we are busy preparing to move to a new office near the confluence of the Sacramento and American rivers, planning a blend of virtual and in-person programming for the fall and offering a sale on our beautiful water maps and guides so we don’t have to move them. 


There’s Still Time to Save 30% On Water Maps, Guides and More During Our Moving Sale!
We’re relocating our office, so now’s the time to build out your water library and save some money

maps imageWe’re in the final weeks of our moving sale as we prepare to head to new quarters next month, so you still have a little time left to knock 30 percent off the price of our water maps, Layperson’s Guides, DVDs and more.

Use the code MOVINGSALE when you check out to claim your 30 percent discount and get those updated maps, guides and DVDs you’ve wanted.


We’re Hiring! Join the Foundation as a Programs and Communications Manager
We're seeking someone keenly interested in water issues to plan conferences, workshops and do multimedia

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

We have a full-time opening for an enthusiastic, team-oriented, multitasking Programs & Communications Manager at our office in Sacramento.

As Climate Change Turns Up The Heat in Las Vegas, Water Managers Try to Wring New Savings to Stretch Supply
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Rising temperatures are expected to drive up water demand as historic drought in the Colorado River Basin imperils Southern Nevada’s key water source

Las Vegas has reduced its water consumption even as its population has increased. Las Vegas, known for its searing summertime heat and glitzy casino fountains, is projected to get even hotter in the coming years as climate change intensifies. As temperatures rise, possibly as much as 10 degrees by end of the century, according to some models, water demand for the desert community is expected to spike. That is not good news in a fast-growing region that depends largely on a limited supply of water from an already drought-stressed Colorado River.