WELL UnTapped Summary
Water is one of the most important public policy issues in California and local Latino leaders are now emerging as key contributors in the water policy arena. Ahead of this trend, in 2012, a group of Latino water experts and community organizers across California came together and founded Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) with the goal of strengthening this voice and ensuring that local Latino leaders have a context in water policy in making decisions about water.
Latinos and other people of color have been historically locked out of decision making and leadership roles, particularly on the issue of water policy. Latinos represent nearly 40% of California’s population, but only account for 2% of elected water officials and water policy professionals. WELL believes that the next generation of water leaders should reflect the diversity of California and have the knowledge and expertise around water issues to be better informed and more effective leaders.
Since WELL’s inception, more than 275 of California’s 400 Latino city council members, mayors, county supervisors and school board members have participated in annual WELL conferences.
Building on its success, WELL launched WELL UnTapped; a selective, six-month long program for local elected leaders aimed at helping participants make an impact in California water policy while addressing community challenges with water. The UnTapped program creates an opportunity for local leaders to engage with water issues by a comprehensive and active exploration of history, governance, public policy, geography and economics and their relationship to human rights and climate change.
UnTapped sessions last two days, Fridays and Saturdays, and are held at different watersheds throughout California. Session content includes lectures given by water professionals and skill-based exercises that help participants ask better public policy questions and strengthen public speaking and relational skills.
“As elected leaders, we’re asked to make key decisions which affect the health and well-being of our constituents. WELL Untapped helped educate me on critical water issues – making me a better representative for my community.”
– Carmen Ramirez, UnTapped Graduate and Council Member, City of Oxnard
“WELL UnTapped was the perfect venue for becoming educated on water and for networking with other Latino leaders with the same concerns.” – Eduardo Martinez, UnTapped Graduate and Council Member, City of Richmond
Members of the 2019 UnTapped Cohort will attend six sessions, the dates are listed below:
- January 11, 12, 13, 2019
- February 8-9, 2019
- March 1-2, 2019
- April 12-13, 2019
- May 3-4, 2019
- June 7-8, 2019
Join WELL UnTapped’s statewide network of Latino elected leaders. Learn from each other. Leverage the Power of UnTapped. Together we can make a difference in our communities and help address one of the most critical issues of our day.