Water Leaders

Water Leaders

Since 1997, the Water Education Foundation has hosted California’s premier water leadership program, the William R. Gianelli Water Leaders Class, aimed at up-and-coming community leaders from diverse backgrounds, including members of minority and ethnic communities, who show a committed interest in water.

In 2022, the Foundation launched the inaugural Colorado River Water Leaders program on the 100th anniversary year of the Colorado River Compact.

Participants of both programs deepen their water knowledge and enhance their leadership skills. The competitive programs draw rising stars from across all interest groups and fosters a stronger understanding of the various perspectives on water.

Post Jenn Bowles Liz McAllister

California Water Leaders
Program Overview & Requirements

Led by Executive Director Jenn Bowles, the Water Leaders class brings together 20 or so participants in their early to mid-career from across California and various stakeholder groups. The program deepens knowledge on water, enhances individual leadership skills and prepares class members to take an active, cooperative approach to decision-making about water resource issues. Each class member is paired up with a mentor from a leading stakeholder group or who works as a policymaker.

Colorado River Water Leaders

Members of our California Water Leaders program enjoy a stop at Hoover Dam during our Lower Colorado River Tour.Known for our Water Leaders program in California, we launched a Colorado River Water Leaders program in 2022, the 100th anniversary of the Colorado River Compact and the 25th anniversary of our California Water Leaders program.

The biennial Colorado River Water Leaders program selects rising stars from the Upper and Lower basins (California, Nevada, Arizona, Utah, Colorado, New Mexico and Wyoming) and eventually will include Mexico. Participants are up-and-coming leaders in their early to mid-career at state and federal agencies, including the Bureau of Reclamation, water and irrigation districts, tribal nations, environmental groups, agricultural interests, private companies and non-governmental organizations.