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
What We Do
We support and execute a wide variety of programming to build a
better understanding of water resources across the West,
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
Our 2020 Water Leaders class
completed its year with a report outlining policy recommendations
for adapting California water management to climate change.
The class of
23 up-and-coming leaders from various
stakeholder groups and backgrounds – engineers, attorneys,
planners, farmers, environmentalists and scientists - had
full editorial control to choose recommendations.
In any given year, whether it’s a wet
winter or a dry one, groundwater is a critical source of water
for California, providing 40 percent to 60 percent of the state’s
supply. Some areas of the state are entirely dependent on
To help you learn more about the importance of groundwater, the
Water Education Foundation has an array of educational materials
on this vital resource. And next week, the Foundation’s flagship
Water news, will publish a special report
examining how two local groundwater agencies are taking different
approaches to achieve sustainability in the San Joaquin Valley,
one of the most critically overdrafted regions in the state. You
can sign up here to be
alerted when this special report is published.
Happy New Year to all the friends, supporters, readers and tour and workshop participants of the Water Education Foundation! We’re grateful to each and every person who interacted with us in 2020, especially as we pivoted our in-person programming to virtual platforms.
As we turn the page to 2021, we’re looking ahead to a year of hope that COVID-19 will no longer be a major threat to our health and well-being.
But, with the pandemic in mind, our team is planning a hybrid year starting with virtual water educational experiences and, if deemed safe by health officials, a return to in-person events in the second half of 2021.
The ability of science to improve
water management decisions and keep up with the accelerating pace
of climate change. The impact to precious water resources
from persistent drought in the Colorado River Basin.
Building resilience and sustainability across California. And
finding hope at the Salton Sea.
These were among the issues Western Water explored in
2020. In case you missed them, they are still worth taking a look
Twenty years ago, the Colorado River
Basin’s hydrology began tumbling into a historically bad stretch.
The weather turned persistently dry. Water levels in the system’s
anchor reservoirs of Lake Powell and Lake Mead plummeted. A river
system relied upon by nearly 40 million people, farms and
ecosystems across the West was in trouble. And there was no guide
on how to respond.
As we wind down to Thanksgiving and look back on this challenging year, feelings of gratitude well up.
We are grateful most of all for the health of our team at the Water Education Foundation. And we are especially grateful for those who supported us along the way, allowing our talented team to pivot in-person educational opportunities about California’s most precious natural resource into virtual experiences.
Managing water resources in the Colorado River Basin is not for the timid or those unaccustomed to big challenges. Careers are devoted to responding to all the demands put upon the river: water supply, hydropower, recreation and environmental protection.
All of this while the Basin endures a seemingly endless drought and forecasts of increasing dryness in the future.
If you missed last month’s sold-out
Bay-Delta Tour, you can join us next Tuesday,
Nov. 10 for an encore presentation that will
include a video tour and a 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! Get tickets
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.
Are you considering apply for the 2021 class or supporting a
candidate? Join us at 3 p.m. on Nov. 17 for a
30-minute Q&A session with Foundation Executive
Director Jenn Bowles, who will offer details on the program and
tips on completing an application.
Sign up for next week’s Nov. 12
virtual Northern California
Tour, which will take you through a region key to
water supply for much of the state.
During the three-hour online event, you’ll get up close to
Oroville Dam and learn how its two spillways were repaired
following a catastrophic 2017 storm. You’ll also 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 visit Shasta Dam and the area being eyed
for the proposed Sites Reservoir. Get your ticket for the
If you missed our October Bay-Delta
Tour, you can join us Nov. 10 for an encore. This tour traverses
the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta, a 720,000-acre network of
islands and canals that serves as California’s most crucial water
and ecological resource. Hear from farmers, fish biologists,
people working on restoration efforts and more!
Explore the Sacramento
River and its tributaries and gain a deeper understanding of the
issues associated with a key source of the state’s water
supply. Visit Oroville and Shasta dams, rice fields and wildlife
refuges, and hear from farmers, biologists and water managers.
Each virtual tour event will include:
An overview presentation of the region’s
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
Live Q&A with experts featured in the
video so attendees can dive deeper into the topics
As part of each event, participants will receive one of
our popular Layperson’s Guides and be entered into a drawing
to win one of our beautiful water maps.
Attendees should make sure they download the latest version
of Zoom before the event.
Radically transformed from its ancient origin as a vast tidal-influenced freshwater marsh, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta ecosystem is in constant flux, influenced by factors within the estuary itself and the massive watersheds that drain though it into the Pacific Ocean.
Lately, however, scientists say the rate of change has kicked into overdrive, fueled in part by climate change, and is limiting the ability of science and Delta water managers to keep up. The rapid pace of upheaval demands a new way of conducting science and managing water in the troubled estuary.
The Water Education Foundation is
fortunate to have generous supporters who have answered the call
to make contributions through a workplace giving campaign. The
contributions support our nonprofit’s mission to inspire
understanding of water and catalyze critical conversations to
build bridges and inform collaborative decision-making.
This year, we hope you’ll consider making a tax-deductible
gift to the Foundation via a one-time payroll deduction or
as a set amount per pay period through your employer.
Join us for an engaging virtual
exploration of the Sacramento River and its tributaries to learn
about issues associated with a key source for the state’s water
supply on our Nov. 12 Northern
In addition to the Northern California Tour, you can join us for
an encore Bay-Delta Tour Nov.
10 and other virtual journeys into key water
regions across California.
Applications are now available for
our yearlong Water
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
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.
If you have come on one of our water tours,
participated in our Water Leaders program or are
a loyal reader of our Western Water
articles or weekday Aquafornia water news feed,
you can now support us though a payroll deduction at your
workplace, whether it’s a federal or state agency or in the
Our virtual Bay-Delta Tour set
for tomorrow (Oct. 8) has sold out, but you can still
waitlistand receive priority access to an
encore Bay-Delta Tour event later this fall if there’s enough
The Water Education Foundation’s
just-released 2019 Annual
Report takes readers along to see the array of educational
events, trainings and articles we produced last year to create a
better understanding of water resources in California and the
The Annual Report, whose release was delayed due to impacts from
the COVID-19 pandemic, recaps the Foundation’s efforts for
the year in words and photos.