July 2022 Newsletter
Message from WELL
As drought conditions continue due to climate change, and we begin to see the effects of aridification in the Southwest U.S., we need leadership and action to ensure our ability to meet future water demands. WELL will continue to address these challenges by educating local Latino elected officials about water challenges with the aim of achieving water equity in our communities and all of California.
The WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program is our primary means of delivering this education. Three graduates of the Class of 2022 UnTapped Fellowship program held a regional water workshop on Saturday, July 23 in Pico Rivera. The three graduates were: Dr. Monica Sanchez, Mayor, City of Pico Rivera; Jorgel Chavez, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bell Gardens; and Jim Crawford, District Manager, California Water Service. This event was a culmination of this six-month program, during which Fellowship participants “immersed” themselves in the water sector to learn about California’s water history and governance, water infrastructure, water equity, and water finance.
The workshop was a great success as it brought together several elected officials to learn about regional water challenges and the actions needed to address them. The July event marked just the first of several workshops the UnTapped Fellowship Class of 2022 will host throughout California this year. For all you local elected officials looking for the opportunity to address the water challenges in your community, click here to fill out our interest form, and you can be a part of the next WELL UnTapped Fellowship cohort.
Sí se puede,
Victor Griego Paul C. Hernandez
Founder and Board President Executive Director
WELL UnTapped Legislative Water Workshop Held in Pico Rivera July 23
Caption: Upper left: Attendees come together to end the workshop singing De Colores. Upper center: California State Senator Bob Archuleta, District 32. Upper right: Dr. Monica Sanchez, Mayor, City of Pico Rivera; Manny Acosta, Mayor Pro Tem, City of South El Monte; and Salvador Ramirez, Managing Partner, R2 Strategies Inc.. Bottom left: Sponsors and Presenters pose alongside Mayor Dr. Monica Sanchez and Senator Bob Archuleta after receiving their certificates of appreciation. Bottom right: Attendees listen to Presenters at the workshop.
On July 23, 2022, three graduates of the Class of 2022 UnTapped Fellowship program hosted a workshop to discuss water issues impacting California Senate Districts 32 and 33 and Assembly District 58. The three graduates were: Dr. Monica Sanchez, Mayor, City of Pico Rivera; Jorgel Chavez, Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bell Gardens; and Jim Crawford, District Manager, California Water Service.
Presenters included Ken Jenkins, Chief Water Resource Sustainability Officer, Cal Water; Stephan Tucker, General Manager, The Water Replenishment District of Southern California; Alex Rojas, General Manager, Central Basin Municipal Water District; and Rupam Soni, Community Relations Manager, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California. They covered regional drought conditions, groundwater replenishment, water infrastructure/funding opportunities, and recycled water/alternate treatment programs.
The Water Workshop was conducted in partnership with California State Senator Bob Archuleta, District 32; California State Senate Majority Whip Lena Gonzalez, District 33; and California State Assemblymember Cristina Garcia, District 58. Sponsors of the workshop were California Water Service, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Central Basin Municipal Water District, and The Water Replenishment District of Southern California.
WELL Internship Opportunity
WELL is currently seeking Programs & Research Interns for the Fall of 2022. These interns will receive a deep dive into water education, policy, social and environmental justice, and nonprofit management as they support WELL’s various programs. This includes WELL’s flagship program, UnTapped, which was created for local elected officials to engage with water issues through a comprehensive and active exploration of history, governance, public policy, geography, economics, climate change, and human rights. Additionally, WELL organizes water legislative workshops, online webinars, and statewide conferences that bring together local leaders around water issues facing California. The primary scope of the Programs & Research Intern position is to assist in the design and implementation of these programs and provide support in educating public officials on water management, environmental justice, and leadership development.
The WELL Internship Program is students a unique opportunity to learn organizing and leadership development through the perspective of a nonprofit organization. The Programs & Research Interns will explore:
- Local water policy
- Water education principles
- Nonprofit management
- Environmental justice
- Community outreach
- Leadership development
Submit your resume and cover letter to Stephanie Nava-Angeles, WELL Program Manager, at firstname.lastname@example.org.
WELL Summer Coro Fellows:
In July, WELL Staff was joined by two bright student leaders as part of Coro’s Youth Fellows Program (YFP). This program is designed to foster the next generation of Southern California leaders, educating them not just about public life and institutions, but also about how they can be more effective advocates and ambassadors for their communities. Participants leave the program with an understanding of how Los Angeles operates, stronger communication and analytical skills, increased confidence, and a network of Coro alumni eager to support their career development.
Read below for a background on our Youth Fellows and the work they are doing in their communities.
Brileigh Guillen is Director of Organization for GEN-UP, a member of the social justice club Terriers for Justice, and a member of the Mock Trial team at Redlands High School. Her passion for social justice, mental health, activism, and advocacy is motivated by her desire to understand how cultural identity shapes individuals’ lives, affects families generationally, and impacts personal development. Brileigh also has a passion for understanding local government. She is a part of the Redlands Youth Council, which is sponsored by the office of Redlands City Councilmember Denise Davis. Brileigh seeks to continue learning about intersectional identities and how intersectionality affects people across the country with the aim of someday creating change within systems through policy.
Maddie Rondeau is a high school senior and climate activist serving on Los Angeles Mayor Eric Garcetti’s Mayor’s Youth Council for Climate Action, and recently completed stints in the offices of Environmentalism and Sustainability with Councilmember Paul Koretz and LAUSD Boardmember Nick Melvoin. At her high school, she is a cabinet member for her branch of S.H.A.R.E., and is a high school advisor for the middle school chapter of Model United Nations. She is also an avid artist and photographer. She has been a guest speaker at LA’s Green Building Council Conference and has participated in the United Nations youth forum on climate action. With her many years of experience working in and around LA city politics as an environmental advisor and local campaign staffer, she hopes to continue to sharpen her focus on public policy and climate issues in order to broaden her activism and reach to the LA communities she loves.
OC World, hosted by Joone Kim-Lopez, Boardmember, WELL
WELL Boardmember Joone Kim-Lopez is the host of the TV show OC World, which aired its second season of programs on July 4. The program is co-produced with KLCS-TV, a PBS affiliate that broadcasts to 15.5 million households from Santa Barbara to San Diego. OC World is a nonprofit multimedia company based in Orange County whose mission is to provide residents with critical information that will help them learn more about themselves and their communities, providing them with the opportunity to make better-informed decisions.
Gracie Torres, WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2020 and Vice President of Western Municipal Water District: Torres was interviewed by KMET 1490 AM radio, discussing her role on the board, the drought, water education, and water infrastructure. Click here to listen to the full interview.
Eddie Valero, WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2022 and Supervisor – Chairman, County of Tulare: Valero was interviewed by Univision to address the water shortages faced by residents of East Orosi. The community’s water supply relies on two wells, and residents report that water supplies are diminishing every day. As a result, they have had to ration their water and find multiple ways to repurpose it. Click here to view the full interview.
Cindy Wu, WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2022 and Boardmember of Mountain View School District: Wu spoke at the City of South El Monte’s Brunch event for the creation of the upcoming commission for the Advancement of Women and Girls in South El Monte. The commission is made possible through a grant by the California Commission on the Status of Women and Girls.
WELL Partner Highlights
The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD): In July, MWD revealed two new studies highlighting the value and wide-ranging success of MWD’s Turf Replacement Program, which provides cash rebates to residents who swap their water-guzzling lawns for more water-efficient California Friendly® and native plants. One study found that for every 100 homes that converted their yards using a rebate, an additional 132 nearby homes were inspired to convert their own grass without receiving the rebate. This “multiplier effect” more than doubled the value of Metropolitan’s investment in making Southern California more sustainable. The second study found that less than 4 percent of participants who received a turf rebate to transform their yards later replanted grass. Click here to read more.
Los Angeles Department of Water and Power (LADWP): LADWP announced in July the completion of the Tujunga Spreading Grounds, a project that doubles LA’s ability to capture and store stormwater for future use and provides the community with walking paths, native plants, and picnic tables. Click here to read more.
San Jose Water Company(SJWC): SJWC hosted the webinar Sustainability: Solutions for the Future on July 12. Presenter Francois Rodigari, Director of Corporate Sustainability and Innovation at San Jose Water, spoke on the technology SJWC has implemented to promote progressive and responsible environmental leadership. Click here to view the full webinar.
California Water News – July
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 July:
- Common\Edge: How the Power of Place Shapes Cities
- CalMatters: 1 million Californians lack safe drinking water
- Los Angeles Times: California officially shrinks delta water diversion plan from two tunnels to one
- NPR: California’s water restrictions aren’t impacting people equally
- NASA Earth Observatory: Lake Mead Keeps Dropping
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 (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.