This year, Fellows have traveled to different watersheds in California to learn about regional water challenges and best practices, as well as develop the leadership and interpersonal skills to make a lasting impact on California water policy.
January 11-13, 2019: The opening retreat of UnTapped 2019 took place in Los Angeles, which included a tour of the LA River and team-building exercises such as Speed Interviews and Active Learning.
Fellows interviewed and heard from guest speakers: Anthony Rendon, speaker of the California State Assembly for the Los Angeles County, Jonathan Parfrey, Founder and Executive Director of Climate Resolve, and Marissa Christiansen and Stephen Majia from Friends of the LA River
February 8-9, 2019: UnTapped Fellows traveled to Fresno to tour the Southeast Surface Water Treatment Plant
Fellows practiced their Methods of Inquiry during interviews with Gary Salado and with Susana De Anda to learn about the Human Right to Water.
Fellows met with UWF original Board member Gilbert Padilla, Fresno Councilmember Miguel Arias, and UnTapped Cohort 1, Jose Ornelas and Daniel Parra.
The class ended with Public Narrative Training.
March 1-2, 2019: Fellows visited the Coachella Valley to explore a myriad of issues facing the Salton Sea, Polanco Parks, and the CO River.
Fellows listened and learned about the Salton Sea from Bruce Wilcox, Assistant Secretary for Salton Sea Policy and an ecologist with over 20 years of experience in the environmental consulting industry, as well as Peter Nelson, a member of the Coachella Valley Water District Board of Directors since 2000. He also served on the Salton Sea Authority from 2000 to 2014. The UnTapped also interviewed Sergio Carranza, Executive Director of Pueblo Unido.
The Fellows then practiced their methods of inquiry and public narratives with Jake Waxman.
April 12-13, 2019: UnTapped Fellows spent two days in San Jose learning about water distribution, purification and desalination costs, and stormwater storage.
The Fellows interviewed three experts: Nina Hawk, Chief Operating Officer for Water Utility at the Santa Clara Valley Water District; Tony Estremera Director of Valley Water who also has extensive government experience in both appointed and in Santa Clara County; and Steven Ritchie, Assistant General Manager for Water at the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission.
To end, the UnTapped class strengthened their Public Narratives.
May 3-4, 2019: The National Chavez Center hosted UnTapped in Keene, CA, where Fellows learned about the Human Right to Water and groundwater management.
To begin, Fellows toured the Chavez Monument and Grounds and after spoke to President and Chairman of the Cesar Chavez Foundation, Paul Chavez. Mr. Chavez is one of eight children of Cesar and Helen Chavez, who has spent his entire life with the farm worker movement.
Fellows also interviewed the award-winning Author and Assistant Professor at UC Merced, Dr. Mario Sifuentez to understand the Central Valley perspective on the Human Right to Water and groundwater challenges.
After the interviews, the UnTapped class participated in Groundwater Exercise designed by WELL and the Environmental Defense Fund.
June 6-7, 2019: The UnTapped 2019 Cohort will meet with their State Legislators in Sacramento to discuss the Legislative Workshops Project on Statewide Reliability on Integrated Water
The day started with Fellows engaging with State legislators with all the tools gained from previous sessions.
Speakers included Jonas Minton from the Planning and Conservation League, who work on issues surrounding water use and water policy and is the former Deputy Director of the California Department of Water Resources; Delta expert Curt Schmutte, who assists with legislative and policy strategies, planning emergency actions to protect Delta and advancing new conceptual water conveyance alternatives; and Supervising Naturalist, Michael Moran, who specializes in marine and aquatic science.
To end, the Fellows graduated as the UnTapped Class of 2019.