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April 2022 Newsletter

Message from WELL

April is Earth Month! As our attention is focused on our planet, it’s important to remember that the effects of climate change have intensified, such as in the US Southwest, which is currently experiencing the worst drought ever recorded. Climate change is mainly caused by human activity, and if our actions continue to impact the environment, our future will hold even more prolonged periods of drought and severe weather patterns.

It is also important to note that different members of our community are disproportionately affected by climate change. For example, more than half of US Latinos live in states experiencing its harshest effects, such as the severe drought and fires in California, higher temperatures in Texas and Arizona, and flooding in Florida. 

Latinos are also at higher risk of dying due to extreme weather. According to the Environmental Protection Agency, Latinos make up a large percentage of workers in industries impacted by severe weather. For example, Latinos make up around 75% of US farmworkers, who are 20 times more likely than other outdoor workers to die from extreme heat. Moreover, projections indicate that the heat will get worse! By midcentury, the number of outdoor workers exposed to temperatures higher than 100 degrees could quadruple. Since Latinos comprise a large percentage of the population of outdoor workers, they will be “disproportionately exposed” to extreme heat compared to the general population. 

Therefore, we must all take this opportunity to reflect on the day-to-day actions in our lives and think about how we can live a more sustainable life to ensure a safer future for the next generation. 

Sí se puede,


Victor Griego                                                   Paul C. Hernandez
Founder and Board President                     Executive Director

WELL’s 2022 Conference Series:

Southern California Conference: REGISTRATION NOW OPEN

Click here to register. 

2022 is WELL’s 10-year anniversary. To celebrate, we are hosting a conference series. The second conference will take place Friday, June 10 and Saturday, June 11, 2022, at the Water Replenishment District of Southern California, Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning in Pico Rivera, CA. 

Water is one of the top public policy issues affecting our state. Are you involved in the water discussion? Join us to learn more about this critical issue and help support your residents and local economy as the state faces a third year of drought. 

Conference Overview: 

  • June 10: Tour of Water Replenishment District of Southern California, Albert Robles Center for Water Recycling and Environmental Learning; Evening Reception.
  • June 11: Conference. See the full list of panels below. 

Panel 1: How is climate change impacting our water supply, and are our cities prepared for the future?

Panel 2: What is driving the rising costs of delivering water to residents and businesses, and what resources and strategies are available to mitigate such costs?

Panel 3: What new water initiatives could lead Californians toward sustainable water usage in the future?

Click here to learn about Sponsorship Opportunities.

WELL’s 2022 Conference Series:

Central Valley Conference: Policy, Practice, Progress

The first conference brought attention to California’s Central Valley as we hosted the event in Selma on Saturday, April 2. It is important to continue to bring our attention to this region because its communities are disproportionately affected by the economic impacts of the drought and by a lack of access to clean, affordable drinking water.

Each year we bring together leaders from across California with the aim of helping them learn best practices in water management, innovative solutions for water disparities and challenges, and how to better access financial resources that address both. Conference speakers shared their expert knowledge to help local leaders drive solutions for California’s water challenges. 

See photos from the event by clicking the link below. 

Click here to see photos of the Central Valley Conference.

Missed the conference? Click here to see a news recap of the Central Valley Conference.

Cástulo R. Estrada, Vice President, Coachella Valley Water District, Board Member, WELL Board Member
Selected as the recipient of the 2022 Impact Award for the WaterNow Alliance

Cástulo R. Estrada has received a national award honoring his leadership in providing safe drinking water to disadvantaged communities. He was selected for a 2022 Impact Award from the WaterNow Alliance for his work in forming CVWD’s Disadvantaged Communities Task Force and his role in implementing California’s Safe and Affordable Funding for Equity and Resilience Program. Water Now Alliance is a network of local water leaders who advance sustainable, affordable, equitable, and climate-resilient water strategies in their communities. 

Estrada received the award at the Alliance’s 2022 Tap into Resilience Summit, held April 13 and 14 at the University of Pennsylvania in Philadelphia. Clarence Anthony, CEO of the National League of Cities, presented the award. 

Click here to learn more. 

UnTapped 2022: Sessions 6 & 7

April 7, 2022, and April 21, 2022

On April 7, 2022, WELL hosted the sixth UnTapped Fellowship session for the class of 2022 on Zoom. This session focused on teaching fellows about Portfolio of Water Management Strategies.

Fellows interviewed Newsha Ajami, Chief Development Officer for Research, Berkeley Lab’s Earth and Environmental Sciences Area. This lesson helped fellows understand water demand strategies, the need to increase water supply through new technology, water storage and efficiency, and their role in the integrated water resources management approach. 

On April 21, 2022, WELL hosted the seventh UnTapped Fellowship session for the class of 2022 on Zoom. This session focused on teaching fellows about financing.

Fellows interviewed B. Anatole Falagán, P.E., Assistant General Manager, Long Beach Water. This lesson helped fellows understand setting water rates, funding for water infrastructure and development, and about state and federal financing, bonds, and Props 13, 26, and 218.

WELLo Spotlight

Dr. Monica Sanchez and Gustavo Camacho: Pico Rivera Mayor, and current UnTapped Fellow Dr. Sanchez and Pico Rivera Council Member and UnTapped graduate 2019, Camacho worked with the city council to approve plans for PFAS treatment on plants 1 and 2 and well 5. The city awarded a construction contract for $4.7 million to Metro Builders & Engineers Group Ltd. (Metro Builders) for the PFAS treatment systems. The city anticipates construction to start within the next few weeks, with a completion date in a little over 13 months. Click here to learn more.

Eddie Valero: Tulare County Supervisor – Chairman and current UnTapped Fellow, Valero working with other county officials, reached a significant milestone in discussions with East Orosi Water System Administration on March 28, 2022, when the State Water Board approved the county’s proposed budget. This significant step allows the county to begin negotiating an administrator agreement with the State Water Board to ensure local residents have access to clean and affordable water in the future. 

Eduardo Martinez: Councilmember, City of Richmond, and UnTapped graduate of 2018, Martinez was a panelist at the April 8 North Bay Watershed Association webinar conference entitled OneWater OneBay. Martinez gave a presentation on Sea Level Rise, Tide Marshes, Shoreline Toxic Sites, and How Community Can Come Together for a Just Transition to Renewable Fuels. Martinez showcased the Richmond Breuner Marsh Restoration Project and the work that still needs to be done on the 32 miles of shoreline that is within Richmond city limits. Click here to learn more.

WELL Partner Highlights

California Association of Sanitation Agencies (CASA): CASA continued its Ask the Experts webinar series; most recently in April the webinar topic was “Partnering on PFAS Workshop.” Experts at CDM Smith weighed in, performing a deep dive on PFAS data. Representatives from the State Water Board also shared the next steps for PFAS regulation. The workshop provided attendees with a look at what the USEPA’s PFAS Strategic Road Map could mean for local and state agencies.  Click here to learn more.

Coachella Valley Water District (CVWD): CVWD announced that they have received $2.7 million in federal funding to improve access to clean drinking water in the area. This funding is part of an appropriations package for fiscal 2022 signed into law by President Joe Biden for California’s 36th District, which encompasses much of the Coachella Valley. While the total package is $10 million, the $2.7 million is expected to fund the construction of a new water transmission line that would consolidate either nine water systems along Airport Boulevard in Thermal or three water systems along Avenue 66 in Mecca, according to the CVWD Board Vice President Castulo Estrada. Click here to learn more.

Association of California Water Agency (ACWA): Moulton Niguel Water District and others hosted a reception to honor and introduce Pamela (Pam) Tobin, President, ACWA, and Cathy Green, Vice-President, ACWA, to local leaders in Orange and San Diego counties. The event provided an opportunity for ACWA’s newest President and Vice President to share their vision and ACWA’s roadmap with attendees. WELL’s leadership also attended the event to support President Tobin and Vice-President Green’s leadership. 

California Water News April

Worried that you may have missed some important water news this month? WELL has you covered! Here is a sample of noteworthy water news for the month of April:

1. CalMatters: Cash for farmworkers? California lawmaker says new $20 million idea will help amid drought

2. The Washington Post: California declares historic water emergency measures amid drought

3. KCRA: New NASA research will help CA water managers make better predictions for groundwater supply

4. Office of Governor Gavin Newsom: Governor Newsom Highlights State Action to Address Water and Energy Challenges Amid Changing Climate

5. KQED: New Water Restrictions Ordered for 1.4 Million East Bay Residents, Amid Ongoing Drought Conditions

Follow WELL on Social Media!

Follow WELL on social media to get current California water news and updates about WELL programs and events:

 Water Education for Latino Leaders





Water Education for Latino Leaders

Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) educates local Latino elected officials on California water policies to promote timely and equitable actions that strive to develop a robust economy, healthy communities, and a resilient environment for all Californians. Visit our website: www.latinosforwater.org.

WELL Associate Members

The WELL Associate Member program, established in 2020, connects organizations to Latino leaders who share similar interests, allowing members to strategize about the best ways to solve California’s water challenges. The participation of our Associate Members is a key component of our mutual continued success. We thank our Associate Members, listed below, for their support. If you would like to learn more about the Associate Member Program, please visit latinosforwater.org/associatemembers.