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 when making decisions about water.
Latinx 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 400 California Latino city council members, mayors, county supervisors, water district directors, and school board members have participated in annual WELL conferences.
Building on its success, WELL launched WELL UnTapped; a selective, six-month 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 through 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.
“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
- Class of 2019
- Class of 2017-2018