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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.


Completely Redesigned Layperson’s Guide to California Water Is Hot Off The Press!
10th edition of our popular guide includes new section on human need for water & updates on water conservation, drought, the Delta, the Salton Sea & more

Image of the cover to Layperson's Guide to California WaterOur Layperson’s Guide to California Water has been completely redesigned and updated throughout for 2021, providing an excellent overview of the history of water development and its use in California today.

The 10th Edition of our popular guide to California water includes the latest information on the state’s changing hydrology, recent water conservation legislation, and a new section on the human right to and need for water, highlighting issues of water access and affordability that have drawn increasing attention in California.


Don’t Miss This Sweet Holiday Deal on a Beautiful Water Book
Get 35% off Water & the Shaping of California, the perfect holiday gift for anyone interested in water

Here’s a sweet deal for the holidays that won’t last long: Get our paperback “Water & the Shaping of California,” a treasure trove of gorgeous color photos, historic maps, water literature and famous sayings about water for just $22.75 – a 35% discount.

“Water & the Shaping of California” is a beautifully designed book that discusses the engineering feats, political decisions and popular opinions that reshaped nature and society, leading to the water projects that created the California we know today. The book includes a foreword by the late Kevin Starr, the Golden State’s premier historian.


2021 Water Leaders Class Releases Policy Recommendations for Achieving Water Equity In California

2021 Water Leaders ClassOur 2021 Water Leaders class completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations for achieving water equity in California.

The class of 23 up-and-coming leaders from various water-related fields – engineers, attorneys, planners, environmentalists and scientists – had full editorial control to choose recommendations.

California Spent Decades Trying to Keep Central Valley Floods at Bay. Now It Looks to Welcome Them Back
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Floodplain restoration gets a policy and funding boost as interest grows in projects that bring multiple benefits to respond to climate change impacts

Land and waterway managers labored hard over the course of a century to control California’s unruly rivers by building dams and levees to slow and contain their water. Now, farmers, environmentalists and agencies are undoing some of that work as part of an accelerating campaign to restore the state’s major floodplains.


Apply for California’s Premier Water Leadership Program by Dec. 7
Deepen water knowledge, build leadership skills during program's 25th anniversary; ACWA fellowship available

Apply by Dec. 7 for our 2022 Water Leaders class and be part of the cohort that will mark the 25th anniversary of California’s pre-eminent water leadership program.

The Water Leaders class, which started in 1997, is aimed at providing a deeper understanding of California water issues and building leadership skills by working with a mentor, studying a water-related topic in-depth and crafting policy recommendations on that topic with your cohort.

The deadline to apply for the 2022 class is Dec. 7 at 5 p.m. Find the online application form and other required items for your application package here.


Support Water Education in California and the West Through Workplace Giving
Water Education Foundation participates in payroll deduction programs with federal, state and private employers

You can more easily support the important work done by the Water Education Foundation in California and across the West by making a tax-deductible gift via a one-time payroll deduction through your employer or a set amount per pay period.

The contributions through Workplace Giving programs support our nonprofit’s mission to inspire understanding of water and catalyze critical conversations to build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.


Support Water Education in California Through Workplace Giving
Foundation is now part of federal, state and private programs allowing donations through payroll deductions

It’s workplace giving season, the time of year when anyone in the workplace can show their support for the organizations and causes they love.

All state, federal and private workplace giving programs are now open, allowing donations through payroll deductions.


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.