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December 2022 Newsletter

Message from WELL

As we wrap up the holiday season, we are excited and eager to welcome a new year!

We have been reflecting on all of the accomplishments and milestones we have been able to reach this year as an organization and would like to share these with you.

In 2022 …

  • WELL hosted two annual conferences, one in Southern California and one in the Central Valleya first in our history.
  • More than 200 guests attended WELL conferences to learn about today’s most pressing public water policy issues and solutions.
  • We graduated 14 Fellows from the UnTapped Fellowship Program.
  • Eight of those graduates hosted five Legislative Water Workshops throughout the state. 
  • WELL hosted a webinar to inform the local leaders of the Diverse Supplier program opportunities within the California water sector.
  • Nineteen Fellows were selected to the WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program for 2023our biggest class yet!
  • We added more than 1,000 new readers to our La Cascada newsletter subscription.
  • As a result of our growth, WELL is hiring a new team member in January 2023 to support our programs and upcoming endeavors.

In 2023, we will continue to educate and train local elected Latino leaders to move water equity forward. A wave of newly elected officials are now being sworn into office this month, and as they begin their terms we are urging them to prioritize water education for their constituents. Water has several touchpoints in everyone’s lives and is the backbone of our communities. More importantly, clean, affordable, and easily accessible drinking water is a human right, and protecting that right is the responsibility of our local leaders. 

We hope you will join us for our 11th annual statewide conference next year, to stay informed on the water challenges California is experiencing and learn about possible solutions. 

Registration is now open! More information is available below. 

We look forward to seeing you in 2023.

¡Sí Se Puede!


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

WELL 11th Annual Statewide Conference

Registration is now open!

Do you know how California’s overall hotter and drier climate conditions are affecting your region’s water resources? Do you know what strategies your residents can implement to conserve limited water resources? Join us at our annual conference to better understand these and other evolving public policy issues.

WELL will bring together top water policy experts and practitioners to share their knowledge on California’s top water challenges and opportunities to mitigate their impacts. Join us to expand your water knowledge and help provide water solutions for your community. Tickets are on sale now!

Click here to register

Announcing the UnTapped Fellowship Cohort Class of 2023

Meet the 2023 UnTapped Fellowship Class!

The WELL UnTapped Fellowship is a selective, six-month program for local elected leaders aimed at helping participants make an impact on California water policy while addressing individual community water challenges. The UnTapped program creates an opportunity for local leaders to engage with water issues by exploring California’s water history and governance, infrastructure, finance, and the impact of climate change on water supply and quality. This curriculum is taught through the lens of the human right to water, with eyes on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the water sector.

This month we have added an additional three new fellows to the cohort. To learn more about the 2023 UnTapped class, read their bios here.

WELL AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Class of 2023

A recording of the information webinar is now available for viewing!

WELL has partnered with AAPI UnTapped Fellowship graduates and local elected officials to plan, organize, and recruit for the WELL – AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Program with the aim of educating local AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) elected officials, providing a foundation of water knowledge in order to help them be better prepared to tackle California’s water crisis. Through this fellowship, AAPI elected officials will enhance their water knowledge and leadership skills, allowing them to take more effective action on water policy issues and assist in solving the state’s increasing water challenges.

On December 8, WELL hosted the information webinar on the WELL – AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Program. The fellowship application is now open! Please feel free to contact WELL Program Manager Stephanie Nava-Angeles if you have any questions about the program or require any additional information. 

Click here to view the recording

Click here to apply for the Fellowship Program

This year, 19 of our WELLos were re-elected. A special congratulations to them!

  1. Acquanetta Warren, Mayor, City of Fontana
  2. Cheryl Sudduth, President, West County Wastewater District
  3. Davie Muse, Vice President, Valley County Water District
  4. Eduardo Martinez, Mayor, City of Richmond
  5. Monica E. Wilson, Councilmember, City of Antioch
  6. Alvaro Preciado, Mayor, City of Avenal
  7. Carmen Montano, Mayor, City of Milpitas
  8. Gracie Torres, Director, 
  9. Gustavo Camacho, Councilmember, City of Pico Rivera
  10. Javier Vargas, Director, Valley County Water District
  11. Lenet Pacheco, Director, Valley County Water District
  12. Rey Leon, Mayor, City of Huron
  13. Samuel Kang, Councilmember, City of Duarte
  14. Jennifer Santana, Director, Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District
  15. Salvador Melendez, Councilmember, City of Montebello
  16. Sandra Armenta, Councilmember, City of Rosemead
  17. Oscar Ortiz, Mayor, City of Indio
  18. Eddie Valero, Supervisor, Chairman, County of Tulare
  19. Cindy Wu, Boardmember, Mountain View School District

Also, congratulations to Peter Chan, who retired from the City of Monterey Park after 10 years of service.

Marta Cruz, Councilmember, City of Cloverdale, and UnTapped Graduate Class of 2020: Cruz served as a panelist and trainer at the Barbara Jordan – Dolores Huerta Young Elected Officials (YEO) – Women’s Leadership Program. The program was held in Santa Rosa, California, December 1–3. There were several elected women participants from a variety of different states. The YEO Network, a nonpartisan program of People for the American Way Foundation, is the first and only national initiative to provide a network of support to the newest generation of progressive leaders at every level of elected office.

Gene Hernandez, Mayor, City of Yorba Linda, and UnTapped Graduate Class of 2018: Hernandez has been sworn in as the Mayor of the City of Yorba Linda; he is also the incoming Chair for OCTA (Orange County Transportation Authority) and the Chair for the Senior Citizen Advisory Council (SCAC). Additionally, he will be the first VP for the Association of California Cities (ACC-OC). The water education and leadership training Mayor Hernandez gained during the WELL Untapped Fellowship will be utilized in these various leadership positions.

Oscar Ortiz, Mayor, City of Indio and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2022: Ortiz was sworn in as the Mayor of the City of Indio on December 7; he has also been appointed as Vice Chair for the Inland Regional Energy Network (I-REN). This new board will allow the Western Riverside Council of Governments, Coachella Valley Association of Governments, and San Bernardino Association of Governments to split from the SoCal-REN and bring in funding directly to their regions for energy efficiency programs. Click here to read more. 

WELL Partner Highlights

California Water Service (Cal Water): Grant funding from the State of California’s Department of Water Resources to the County of Tulare will enable local water provider Cal Water to connect two small communities struggling with failing domestic wells with its Visalia system. The consolidation is intended to help ensure residents in West Goshen and Harrison Road receive a reliable supply of safe, clean water. Officials for both projects hope to break ground in 2023 and complete construction by the end of 2024. Click here to learn more.

Valley County Water District (VCWD): On Friday, December 9, VCWD held a ribbon-cutting celebration for its new headquarters. The new facility will officially open next year. It was designed to improve services for customers and host gatherings that inspire, educate, and grow community engagement in the efficient use of water.

Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP): The Los Angeles Board of Water and Power Commissioners has adopted a motion directing LADWP to halt the practice of water and electric shutoffs as a debt collection tool. Under the new motion, those enrolled in LADWP’s EZ-SAVE programwhich offers income-qualified residential customers a discount to help reduce the cost of electricity, water, and sewer serviceas well as those enrolled in the Senior Citizen Lifeline Discount Program, will be eligible for shutoff protection. The motion also prohibits shutoffs for all customers during extreme weather events, such as extreme heat episodes that can harm public health, safety, and welfare. Click here to learn more. 

California Water News December

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 December:

    1. California Department of Water Resources: DWR Launches Public Comment Period for LandFlex Program to Protect Drinking Water Supplies
    2. LA Times: ‘Full-on crisis’: Groundwater in California’s Central Valley disappearing at alarming rate
    3. AP: Nation’s largest water supplier declares drought emergency
    4. Cal Matters: California’s water conundrum hinges on Delta
    5. ABC News: Increased drought forces California to deliver less water to cities

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.