The first graduating class of WELL UnTapped consisted of eleven local elected officials from throughout California. These fellows participated in a year-long program in which they traveled the state to learn about regional watersheds, California water governance, and the leadership skills needed to effect change in the water policy arena. Fellows completed a rigorous program (details below) while working on a local water project in their own community. These projects were varied, ranging from local conservation campaigns to purple pipeline extensions. Throughout the year, the UnTapped class participated in leadership-building events, where they learned the Method of Inquiry and Public Narrative techniques. The fellows’ work culminated in a legislative briefing on February 28 in Sacramento, where they presented on legislation surrounding the human right to water.
From 2017 to 2018, the UnTapped fellows completed the following curriculum, gaining priceless public leadership skills and water knowledge.
April 7-9, 2017: Fellows have their opening retreat in the City of Industry. They engage in team-building exercises and get introduced to CA Water in the context of climate change and human rights. The highlight is a team-bonding tour of the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. This Buddhist temple is the largest in the United States. The trip concludes with the water festival, an event that occurs every ten years in the Buddhist tradition.
May 19-20, 2017: The Central Valley welcomes UnTapped! Fellows travel to Visalia, where they learn about water quality and agriculture. In Fresno, fellows engage in a lively conversation with author and journalist, Mark Arax, and Central Valley farmer, Joe Del Bosque. The public narrative technique is introduced.
June 9-10, 2017: UnTapped meets in Los Angeles to tour the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. The fellows discuss water conservation, efficiency, and stormwater management. Martha Trembley of the LA County Sanitation District speaks to the group on Friday evening while Mark Gold and Jeff Kightlinger of the Metropolitan Water District joined UnTapped on Saturday.
July 14-15, 2017: The Sierra Club hosts UnTapped at their national office in Oakland. Jerry Meral presents to the fellows on the timing of and controversy over
the California Water Fix. PG&E also presents on current water legislation in Sacramento.
August 11-12, 2017: Fellows meet in Oxnard, where they learn about water supply and population growth. The class dives deeper into the public narrative by practicing the story of self, story of us, and story of now. The guests are Russ Baggerly, director [B1] of the Casitas Municipal Water District, and Johnny Johnston, mayor of Ojai. Both speakers are presented with a bottle of wine called “1000 Stories,” a brand that becomes UnTapped’s signature gift in celebration of the fellows working on the public narrative and telling their personal stories.
September 8-9, 2017: A session on integrated regional watershed management is held in Ontario, where fellows interview a senior resource manager at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. This session is also highlighted by a great conversation led by Ken Chawkins from SoCalGas on team building and communications.
October 6-7, 2017: The UnTapped class travels south to San Diego, where they enjoy a view of Mexico from the IBWC International Treatment Plant. Fellows learn about the Colorado River Basin and key water supply issues. Former State Senator the Hon. Denise Moreno Duchany presents on Friday evening.
November 3-4, 2017: Fellows gather in Long Beach to learn about water quality and affordability from experts at the State Water Resources Control Board and Community Water Center. They spend the day learning at the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art (MOLA) and practice the method of inquiry. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia joins UnTapped Friday evening at a welcoming dinner.
December 8-9, 2017: UnTapped learns about climate change impacts on water at UCLA in Los Angeles. Climate Resolve Executive Director Jonathan Parfrey presents on Friday evening about how local cities can prepare for climate change and a limited water supply in the future. Fellows review human right to water legislation proposing a safe and affordable drinking water fund and prepare group statements for the legislation briefing.
January 19-20, 2018: The fellows conclude their research on the human right to water at TreePeople’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Former Assembly member Mike Eng discusses his involvement in authoring California’s historical Human Right to Water Bill (AB 685).
February 28-March 1, 2018: The inaugural cohort presents on the human right to water at the State Capitol building in Sacramento. Eleven elected officials are successfully matriculated. Preparation and coordination occur before and after the presentation at the Sacramento office of the Metropolitan Water District. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon presents state proclamations to the fellows on Thursday evening at a graduation dinner.