(323) 349-0661 info@latinosforwater.org

February 2022 Newsletter

Message from WELL

February marked the start of the Lunar New Year and was also Black History Month! A month of celebrating and appreciating the culture and history of our friends. The New Year is a new beginning, a time to honor ancestors, and meant to bring luck and prosperity in the new one. This month we uplift the celebration of achievements by African Americans.

As we move forward with the New Year, February was also a pivotal month for water management in California. At the beginning of the month, the California Department of Water Resources (DWR) released its monthly snowpack survey, which revealed a substantial loss of snow compared to the previous month, because California experienced extremely dry conditions in January. This signifies that the drought is still far from over and that we must be prepared for a third dry year. 

February was also an exciting month for WELL as the UnTapped Fellows completed two sessions. The second UnTapped session of the year was hosted at the National Chavez Center and included a tour of the Cesar Chavez National Park led by Paul Chavez, President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and son of Cesar Chavez. That session focused on teaching UnTapped Fellows the basics of hydrology and the craft of public narrative. The third UnTapped Fellowship Session was held virtually via Zoom and focused on teaching fellows about California Water Storage. Fellows interviewed Professor Andrew T. Fisher to learn about groundwater storage, surface water reservoirs, flood management, and watershed management.

Also in February, we announced our speakers for the WELL Central Valley Conference: Policy, Practice, Progress scheduled for April 2 in Selma, California. Registration is open. Learn more/register by clicking here. We are excited to be hosting this conference in person and will be taking the necessary precautions to make this event safe for everyone.

Sí se puede,


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

Announcing the Speakers at, WELL’s 2022 Conference Series:
Central Valley Conference: Policy, Practice, Progress

In 2022 we will celebrate WELL’s 10-year anniversary. To mark the occasion, we are hosting a conference series. The first conference will bring attention to California’s Central Valley as we host the event in the region in Selma on Saturday, April 2. It is important to bring our attention to the Central Valley 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 will share their expert knowledge to help local leaders drive solutions for California’s water challenges. See our list of speakers/panels below: 


Keynote Speaker:
Betty T. Yee, California State Controller

Luncheon Speaker:
Mark Arax, Journalist & Author

Event MC’s:

Irais Lopez-Ortega, Councilmember, City of Calistoga, VP Board of Directors of WELL, and UnTapped Fellowship Class of 2019

Olivia Trujillo, Mayor, City of Arvin and UnTapped Fellowship Class of 2020


Panel 1: From Water Policy to Project Implementation
Panelists will share tools to help local leaders tap into technical support resources that will allow them to successfully bring Central Valley communities access to clean, affordable drinking water.

Panel 2: An update on SGMA and the implementation of Groundwater Sustainability Plans
Panelists will discuss the implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) and highlight how local leaders have overcome barriers to meet sustainable water usage goals.

Panel 3:The Economic Impacts of Drought and Potential Solutions for Communities
Panelists will share some of the innovative solutions local leaders are implementing to boost their economies and address water shortages.

To view full list of Panelists, please click here. 

To view sponsorship opportunities, please click here.


UnTapped 2022: Session 2
February 4–5, 2022, Tehachapi, CA

This session was hosted at the National Chavez Center and included a tour of the Cesar Chavez National Park led by Paul Chavez, President of the Cesar Chavez Foundation and son of Cesar Chavez. This session focused on teaching Fellows the basics of hydrology and the craft of public narrative.

Fellows were taught a lesson on hydrology by Professor Samuel Sandoval and Pablo Ortiz. This lesson helped fellows understand the distribution and movement of water in California.

On day two, fellows spent all day learning about public narrative and the story of “self, us, and now.” Public narrative is an evidence-based method to engage others in organizing work. The method, developed by Marshall Ganz, an organizer and lecturer at Harvard Kennedy School of Government, comes out of his theory of strategic capacity. Through practicing what Ganz termed the “Story of Self, Story of Us, and Story of Now,” fellows honed critical public speaking skills and learned how to recruit important allies to build a team of concerned and willing leaders.

UnTapped 2022: Session 3
February 17, 2022 – Held virtually via Zoom

On February 17, 2022, WELL hosted the third UnTapped Fellowship Session for the class of 2022 on Zoom. This session focused on teaching fellows about California Water Storage.

Fellows interviewed Professor Andrew T. Fisher to learn about groundwater storage, surface water reservoirs, flood management, and watershed management. Professor Fisher shared his recommendations for water storage management. This lesson helped fellows understand the many forms of water storage and its different uses in California.


Latino Legislators Water Conversation
February 25, 2022, Los Angeles County Federation Of Labor

WELL was asked by California State Senator María Elena Durazo to host a second Water Conversation at the Los Angeles County Federation Of Labor, which took place on Friday, February 25, 2022.

Our moderator was Joone Kim Lopez, General Manager of the Moulton Niguel Water District and a WELL Board Member. She led the conversation alongside our speakers: B. Anatole Falagán, Assistant General Manager, Long Beach Water Department; Tom Grable, Division President, Tri Pointe Homes; ​Felicia Marcus, William C. Landreth Visiting Fellow, Water in the West Program at Stanford University; Darrin Polhemus, Deputy Director, Division of Drinking Water, State Water Resources Control Board.

In attendance were Assemblymember Wendy Carrillo and Senator María Elena Durazo as well as WELL Board Members and staff.

This event allowed our California leaders to learn about and have conversations regarding California’s most pressing water issues. We look forward to continuing to work with Senator Durazo and other legislators.


WELLo Spotlight

Dr. Monica Sanchez and Gustavo Camacho: Mayor of Pico Rivera and current UnTapped Fellow Dr. Sanchez, alongside Pico Rivera City Councilmember and UnTapped 2019 graduate Gustavo Camacho hosted a meet-and-greet event for the new LA County Supervisor, Janice Hahn. This function occurred in partnership with the Water Replenishment District of Southern California at the Albert Robles water recycling center in Pico Rivera.


From left to right: WRD President John Allen, Pico Rivera Councilmember Andrew Lara, Senator Bob Archuelta, Supervisor Janice Hahn, Mayor Dr. Monica Sanchez, Councilmember Gustavo Camacho, and Mayor Pro Tem Erik Lutz.

Emma Sharif: Mayor of Compton and UnTapped graduate of 2020, Emma Sharif, relaunched the Youth Leadership Council in partnership with the Compton Kidz Club. The council is meant to prepare youth to be the next generation of leaders. The City of Compton also hosted its Black History Month Celebration, which included several performances and giveaways.



Lamar Thorpe: Mayor of Antioch and UnTapped graduate of 2019, Lamar Thorpe participated in this year’s San Francisco Chinese New Year Parade. First held in 1851, it is the oldest and one of the largest events of its kind outside Asia, and is one of the largest Asian cultural events in North America. Mayor Thorpe rode on the API Coalition float along with  California Attorney General Rob Bonta, Assemblywoman Mia Bonta, Contra Costa Community College District President Andy Li, and leaders of various API organizations. To learn more, click here.


Monica E. Wilson: Councilmember of the City of Antioch and current UnTapped Fellow, Monica E. Wilson, was selected to be the Board Chair for the Delta Diablo (District). Delta Diablo provides wastewater conveyance and treatment services for approximately 214,000 customers in the cities of Antioch and Pittsburg, and the unincorporated community of Bay Point. Ms. Wilson has served on the Delta Diablo Board of Directors since January 2021, representing Antioch in her capacity as a City Councilmember.


WELL Partner Highlights

California Water Service (Cal Water): On January 28, Cal Water’s East Los Angeles District, in coordination with the California Water Association, hosted a ribbon-cutting and tour to commemorate the new PFAS (per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances) treatment facility. Current UnTapped Fellow James Crawford is the District Manager of the East Los Angeles branch. In attendance were Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, Montebello Mayor Kimberly Cobos-Cawthorne, Central Basin Water Association, Water Replenishment District, and Water Education with Latino Leaders. This facility, located in Montebello, California, is the first in the Central Basin and Water Replenishment District of Southern California area to be constructed specifically to treat PFOS and PFOA in the water. To learn more, click here.

Valley County Water District (VCWD): The Los Angeles County Regional Park and Open Space District has awarded $870,000 to Valley County Water District (District) for a new outdoor water education center and demonstration garden. The funding is through Measure A: Natural Lands, Local Beaches, Water Conservation, and Protection Competitive Grant Program. The new outdoor water education center and demonstration garden will be located at the district’s new headquarters facility, currently under construction in the city of Baldwin Park. To learn more, click here.

California Water News  February

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 February:

  1. ABC 10: A first-in-the-nation project to put solar panels over canals begins near Turlock
  2. California Department of Fish and Wildlife: Pilot Project To Return Salmon To Their Historical Habitat Above Shasta Dam Receives Initial Funding
  3. Los Angeles Times: As drought lingers, larger and more destructive wildfires pose new threats to water supply
  4. SacBeeAs drought continues, Southern California offers millions to buy Sacramento Valley water
  5. UC Merced: Last Year’s Drought Cost Ag Industry More Than $1 Billion, Thousands of Jobs, New Analysis Shows

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.