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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.

Announcement

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. 

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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. 

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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. 

Announcement

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.

Announcement

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.