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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.


Save 30% Off Maps, Guides and More So We Don’t Have to Move Them!
We’re moving soon, so now’s the time to build out your water library and save some money while you save our backs!

maps imageWe’re moving later this summer to new quarters closer to the Sacramento River, and we don’t want to haul all of our water maps, Layperson’s Guides, DVDs and more to the new home. So we’re making you a limited-time offer we hope you can’t refuse: Take 30 percent off the price of all of our maps, guides and more.

Use the code MOVINGSALE when you check out to get your 30 percent discount.


New Resource Page Keeps You Up-To-Date with Drought Gripping West
Foundation-created resource page includes newsfeed, helpful conservation tips, weekly drought severity map & answers to commonly asked questions

For anyone trying to keep up with the unfolding drought in California and the West, the Water Education Foundation has created a special resource page that offers links to real-time reservoir data and water supply forecasts, an ongoing newsfeed to help you stay up to date on the latest news and tips so you can help conserve the region’s most precious natural resource.


Update on Water Education Foundation 2021 Programming Schedule
Fall Tours and Events Being Assessed with an Abundance of Caution

The Water Education Foundation has hosted successful virtual tours and events during the COVID-19 pandemic and is now closely monitoring developments – as capacity and distancing restrictions are lifted from public health guidelines this summer – to inform the format choices for our fall programs.

MWD’s Jeff Kightlinger Reflects On Building Big Things, Essential Partnerships and His Hopes For the Delta
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Veteran Water Boss, Retiring After 25 Years With SoCal Water Giant, Discusses ‘Permanent’ Drought, Conservation Gains & the Struggling Colorado River

Jeff Kightlinger, longtime general manager of Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.When you oversee the largest supplier of treated water in the United States, you tend to think big.

Jeff Kightlinger, general manager of the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California for the last 15 years, has focused on diversifying his agency’s water supply and building security through investment. That means looking beyond MWD’s borders to ensure the reliable delivery of water to two-thirds of California’s population.


Our Latest Western Water Article Examines Efforts to Help Consumers Afford Water as Bills Pile Up Amid Pandemic
Foundation writing team also updated Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Map, and guides on Water Law, Delta & Central Valley Project

As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Concerns about water affordability, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Our latest article in Western Water explores the hurdles to helping consumers, how some water agencies have devised workarounds and how far more lasting solutions remain out of reach.

Pandemic Lockdown Exposes the Vulnerability Some Californians Face Keeping Up With Water Bills
WESTERN WATER IN-DEPTH: Growing mountain of water bills spotlights affordability and hurdles to implementing a statewide assistance program

Single-family residential customers who are behind on their water bills in San Diego County's Helix Water District can get a one-time credit on their bill through a rate assistance program funded with money from surplus land sales.As California slowly emerges from the depths of the COVID-19 pandemic, one remnant left behind by the statewide lockdown offers a sobering reminder of the economic challenges still ahead for millions of the state’s residents and the water agencies that serve them – a mountain of water debt.

Water affordability concerns, long an issue in a state where millions of people struggle to make ends meet, jumped into overdrive last year as the pandemic wrenched the economy. Jobs were lost and household finances were upended. Even with federal stimulus aid and unemployment checks, bills fell by the wayside.


Updated Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project Hot Off the Press
Latest edition of the Guide offers a "mini-textbook" to history, key issues and challenges facing California's largest surface water system

Our Layperson’s Guide to the Central Valley Project has just been updated to reflect the latest developments affecting California’s largest surface water delivery system.

The 24-page guide explores the history of the Central Valley Project, from its roots as a state water project that stalled amid the Great Depression to its development as a federal project that stretches from Shasta Dam in far Northern California to Bakersfield in the southern San Joaquin Valley. 

Western Water Layperson's Guide to Water Rights Law By Gary Pitzer

California Weighs Changes for New Water Rights Permits in Response to a Warmer and Drier Climate
WESTERN WATER NOTEBOOK: State Water Board report recommends aligning new water rights to an upended hydrology

The American River in Sacramento in 2014 shows the effects of the 2012-2016 drought. Climate change is expected to result in more frequent and intense droughts and floods. As California’s seasons become warmer and drier, state officials are pondering whether the water rights permitting system needs revising to better reflect the reality of climate change’s effect on the timing and volume of the state’s water supply.

A report by the State Water Resources Control Board recommends that new water rights permits be tailored to California’s increasingly volatile hydrology and be adaptable enough to ensure water exists to meet an applicant’s demand. And it warns that the increasingly whiplash nature of California’s changing climate could require existing rights holders to curtail diversions more often and in more watersheds — or open opportunities to grab more water in climate-induced floods.


Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Bundle Features Map and Layperson’s Guide at a Special Price
Foundation offers array of bundles, maps, guides and other publications to expand your knowledge of water

Explore the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, one of California’s most vital ecological and water resources, with a special discounted education bundle that includes our brand-new Delta Map and our recently updated Layperson’s Guide to the Delta.

Purchased separately, the map retails for $20 and the guide sells for $15. But with our Delta Education Bundle you can get both items for just $30.


Hot Off the Press! Our Map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta Has a New Look
Redesigned map highlights the Delta’s importance as a farming region, ecological resource and hub for California’s water supply system

2021 map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin DeltaOur map of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta has been updated with a fresh, new look and new text and images to better tell the story of one of California’s most important ecological and water supply resources. 

The new map explores the Delta’s importance as a haven for birds, fish and other wildlife, its vital role in moving water to farms and cities across California, and the array of challenges facing the Delta’s present and future. The map also highlights life in the Delta, including its role as a farming region and its attractions for fishermen, boaters and others looking for recreation. 


Save the Date for Our Virtual Lower Colorado River Tour on May 20
Take the Pulse of the ‘Lifeline of the Southwest’ During Online Event

Mark your calendars now for our virtual Lower Colorado River Tour on May 20 to learn about the important role the river’s water plays in the three Lower Basin states of Nevada, Arizona and California, and how it helps to sustain their cities, wildlife areas and farms. Registration is coming soon!

This virtual journey will cover a stretch of the Colorado River from Hoover Dam and its reservoir Lake Mead, the nation’s tallest concrete dam and largest reservoir respectively, down to the U.S./Mexico border and up to the Salton Sea.


Groundwater Session Added to April 22-23 Virtual Water 101 Workshop
Engaging online workshop to cover California water basics & beyond

Groundwater pump in the Sacramento ValleyLearn from top water experts at our annual Water 101 Workshop about the history, hydrology and law behind California water as well as hot topics such as water equity, the Delta and flows, new federal administration and more.

This year’s workshop, set for April 22-23, will be held virtually and feature a presentation devoted solely to groundwater. In a typical year, groundwater quenches some 40 percent of the state’s freshwater needs, and 85 percent of Californians depend on groundwater for at least portion of their drinking water supply. With California using more groundwater than any other state, participants will learn how all this affects efforts to comply with the state’s 2014 Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

New Lead Scientist Primed for Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta’s Challenges After a Lifetime Surrounded by Water
WESTERN WATER Q&A: Laurel Larsen stresses greater communication and inclusivity in a more nimble Delta science program

Delta Lead Scientist Laurel Larsen has spent her career studying the intricacies of wetlands environments, such as this marsh in southern Louisiana. In the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, Larsen will face a challenging environment that has confounded water management for decades. It’s perhaps no surprise new Delta Lead Scientist Laurel Larsen finds herself in the thick of untangling the many mysteries surrounding the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem.

After all, Larsen grew up in Florida, where deep, marshy backwaters of the Everglades are reminiscent of the large tidal estuary that is California’s most crucial water and ecological resource. Larsen’s background stirred her interest early.


Registration is Now Open for Our Virtual Water 101 Workshop
Engaging Online Event Scheduled for the Afternoons of April 22-23

Registration is now open for one of our most popular events, the Water 101 Workshop, to be held this year virtually on the afternoons of April 22-23.

The annual workshop serves as a refresher for more veteran water professionals and a good statewide primer for others. Participants will come away with a deeper understanding of the state’s most precious natural resource.


Stay in the Know with Water News & Tap Into Special News Feed for COVID-19 and Equity Issues
News feed part of daily Aquafornia aggregation that keeps you updated on water issues in California and the West

Our daily news aggregation known as Aquafornia keeps you up-to-date on the most pressing water issues in California and across the West.

Curated by veteran journalist Alastair Bland and managed by the Foundation’s news and publications director Doug Beeman, Aquafornia gives you the latest articles on groundwater, Delta issues, the Colorado River and more through an easy-to-scan headline format.


2021 Water Leaders Class Evaluates California’s Efforts to Achieve Water Equity
Rising stars in the water world chosen for highly competitive leadership program

Twenty-three early to mid-career water professionals from across California have been chosen for the 2021 William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class, the Water Education Foundation’s highly competitive and respected career development program.

The Water Leaders class includes engineers, lawyers, resource specialists, scientists and others from a range of public and private entities and nongovernmental organizations from throughout the state. The roster for the 2021 class can be found here


Save the Date for Our Virtual Water 101 Workshop in April
Deepen Your Understanding of California Water with Leading Experts During our Online Event

Curious about water rights in California? Want to know more about how water is managed in the state, or learn about the State Water Project, Central Valley Project or other water infrastructure? 

Mark your calendars now for our virtual Water 101 Workshop for the afternoons of April 22-23 to hear from experts on these topics and more. Registration is coming soon! 

California water map

Your Source for Water News & Information in California & the West
Our news & publications team keeps you informed every day, every month with articles, maps and educational guides

Despite the ongoing pandemic, the Water Education Foundation team continues to churn out water news, maps that provide visual context to key water topics and guides that help deepen your understanding of California’s most precious natural resource.

In the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Two Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Try to Find Their Balance
WESTERN WATER SPECIAL REPORT: Agencies in Fresno, Tulare counties pursue different approaches to address overdraft and meet requirements of California’s groundwater law

Flooding permanent crops seasonally, such as this vineyard at Terranova Ranch in Fresno County, is one innovative strategy to recharge aquifers.Across a sprawling corner of southern Tulare County snug against the Sierra Nevada, a bounty of navel oranges, grapes, pistachios, hay and other crops sprout from the loam and clay of the San Joaquin Valley. Groundwater helps keep these orchards, vineyards and fields vibrant and supports a multibillion-dollar agricultural economy across the valley. But that bounty has come at a price. Overpumping of groundwater has depleted aquifers, dried up household wells and degraded ecosystems.

Western Water

Executive Editors Note: Special Groundwater Project Marks Three Years of Online Magazine

It’s been three years since we took Western Water magazine online to make topical issues regarding our most vital resource in California and the West accessible to more people.

Since 1977, the magazine has been a trusted resource, and our journalism team works hard to not break that trust.

Our latest offering is a special report on groundwater because it’s so vital to California as a drinking water source and to grow our crops.