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TOOLKIT

WELL’s top picks of helpful websites, books, podcasts, blogs, and organizations about water in our state and in our communities.

General Background on Water

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC)

Nonprofit, nonpartisan think tank dedicated to informing and improving public policy in California through independent, objective, nonpartisan research. Check out their publications on climate, water and energy.

Pacific Institute

Global water think tank that combines science-based thought leadership with active outreach to influence local, national, and international efforts in developing sustainable water policies.

Water Education Foundation

 An impartial, nonprofit organization, with a mission to create a better understanding of water resources and foster public understanding and resolution of water resource issues through facilitation, education and outreach.

Stanford’s Water in the West

Bridges the gap between academic research and applied solutions by creating new practical tools and forming strong partnerships to inform policymakers, water managers, businesses and environmental groups.

Yale Environment 360

An online magazine offering opinion, analysis, reporting, and debate on global environmental issues.

Water Resources for your Community

Community Water Center: 

Acts as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California’s San Joaquin Valley. They have a variety of guides in English and Español that help community members advocate for safer, more equitable drinking water.

BeWaterWise:

Metropolitan Water District’s portal for water conservation rebates and grants, landscape classes, water-wise garden inspiration and tons of helpful how-to tips.

Human Right to Water Portal:

The State Water Resources Control Board has created a portal to analyze water quality and compliance data to better understand California’s progress with the Human Right to Water Bill (AB 685)

CA’s Department of Water Resources (DWR): 

Vast resource with directories of laws, regulations and CA water data for a large variety of water issues. A great “one stop shop” to collect research on regional and local water issues.

Find out which agencies

Manage water in your community using the membership page of the Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA).

Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) Community Engagement Guide  (also offered in Spanish): 

This guide is designed to help you get involved in developing a local groundwater sustainability plan, a requirement of California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Water Blogs

Water Deeply:

An independent digital media project dedicated to covering the water crises in California and the American West. The team, a mix of journalists and technologists, aims to build a better user experience of the story by providing news and analysis in an easily accessible platform.

Maven’s Notebook:

A website on California water that features both original news as well as content curated from a variety of internet resources. This is a great hub of water articles, webinar info, helpful resources, and subscribable daily/weekly news summaries.

Podcasts

The Water Values:

Frequent podcasts are uploaded covering a range of water issues- water utilities, resources, treatment and reuse

Check out this recent podcast from Infinite Earth Radio that discusses the critical nexus between Watersheds and Homelessness

Books on Water

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc Reisner.

Considered standard reading by many, this book gives the history of the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their struggle to remake the American West. Originally written in 1986, Reisner provides a long-view of how development-driven policies formed during the West’s settlement have had long-term negative effects on the environment and water quantity.

Replenish: the Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity by Sandra Postel.

Sandra Postel dives into a refreshing analysis of the global water cycle’s role in society and ecosystems. She uses positive examples and case studies from throughout the world to challenge the way we look at water conservation.

Water is for Fighting Over: And Other Myths about Water in the West by John Fleck.

John Fleck gives a history of the Colorado River Basin to examine the role of collaboration in the West. He urges readers to embrace an optimistic narrative of water by focusing on the bonds being currently forged to solve the Basin’s most dire threats.

Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation by Ellen Hanak et al.

The PPIC recently published this research-backed paper, effectively summarizing California’s current water management challenges and a set of wide-ranging reforms that the state needs to consider for the benefit of the economy and environment.  

The State of Water by Obi Kaufmann

Offering nine perspectives to illustrate the most pressing challenges facing California’s water infrastructure, from dams to species revitalization, Kaufmann reveals pragmatic yet inspiring solutions to how water in the West can continue to support agriculture, municipalities, and the environment. Interspersed throughout with trail paintings of animals that might survive under a caring and careful water ethic, Kaufmann shows how California can usher in a new era of responsible water conservation, and—perhaps most importantly—how we may do so together.

Cadillac Desert: The American West and Its Disappearing Water, Revised Edition by Marc Reisner.

Considered standard reading by many, this book gives the history of the Bureau of Reclamation and U.S. Army Corps of Engineers and their struggle to remake the American West. Originally written in 1986, Reisner provides a long-view of how development-driven policies formed during the West’s settlement have had long-term negative effects on the environment and water quantity.

Replenish: the Virtuous Cycle of Water and Prosperity by Sandra Postel.

Sandra Postel dives into a refreshing analysis of the global water cycle’s role in society and ecosystems. She uses positive examples and case studies from throughout the world to challenge the way we look at water conservation.

Water is for Fighting Over: And Other Myths about Water in the West by John Fleck.

John Fleck gives a history of the Colorado River Basin to examine the role of collaboration in the West. He urges readers to embrace an optimistic narrative of water by focusing on the bonds being currently forged to solve the Basin’s most dire threats.

Managing California’s Water: From Conflict to Reconciliation by Ellen Hanak et al.

The PPIC recently published this research-backed paper, effectively summarizing California’s current water management challenges and a set of wide-ranging reforms that the state needs to consider for the benefit of the economy and environment.  

Books on Organizing

Why David Sometimes Wins by Marshall Ganz.

Marshall Ganz provides us with the perspective and insight of an organizer and scholar, looking into California’s labor movements and why they were successful in fighting large scale agricultural entreprises.

America’s Social Arsonist: Fred Ross and Grassroots Organizing in the Twentieth Century By Gabriel Thompson.

The first biography to cover Fred Ross, Gabriel Thompson does a wonderful job in delivering the story of this passionate and complex personality.

Organizing Cools the Planet: Tools and Reflections to Navigate the Climate Crisis by Hilary Moore and Joshua Kahn Russell.

The authors seek to empower marginalized groups by using personal experience to provide important lessons on organizing their local communities.

Energy Democracy: Advancing Equity in Clean Energy Solutions Edited by Denise Fairchild and Al Weinrub.

Focusing on Energy, Fairchild and Weinrub dive into how we can better solve policy issues with equitable solutions. The authors define “energy democracy” as a workable solution to end environmental racism.

Partner Organizations

National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO):

Information regarding issues that affect Latino participation in our political process, including immigration and naturalization, voting rights, election reform, the Census and the appointment of qualified Latinos to top executive and judicial positions.

California Contract Cities Association (CCCA):

Contract Cities’ website has a variety of online tools and resources to assist member cities in advancing the contracting model, protecting local control, embracing public/private partnerships and providing educational opportunities.

Coro Northern California:

WELL uses strategies from Coro’s leadership program, which promotes learning by doing. Take a peek at their many programs and opportunities.

DIG IN:

Another great resource for leadership training, sustainability education and consulting services.

Caucuses: These websites have information about the members and activities of the each Caucus, including information about policy priorities, history, and services provided.  

 

Movies about Water

Water & Power: A California Heist

In California’s convoluted water system, water barons find ways to structure a state-engineered system to their own advantage. This examination shows how small farmers and everyday citizens are facing the drought and a new, debilitating water crisis.

Available on Netflix 

Chinatown

When Los Angeles private eye J.J. “Jake” Gittes (Jack Nicholson) is hired by Evelyn Mulwray to investigate her husband’s activities, he believes it’s a routine infidelity case. Jake’s investigation soon becomes anything but routine when he meets the real Mrs. Mulwray (Faye Dunaway) and realizes he was hired by an imposter. Mr. Mulwray’s sudden death sets Gittes on a tangled trail of corruption, deceit and sinister family secrets as Evelyn’s father (John Huston) becomes a suspect in the case.

Based on the Los Angeles Department of Water and Power stealing water from the Owen’s River. 

Available for rent on Youtube and Amazon Prime Video