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June 2022 Newsletter

Message from WELL

Since 2019, WELL’s monthly newsletter has evolved as a source of educational information, helping readers learn about current water challenges and solutions as well as advances in the water sector from within our communities. Moving forward, we are changing the name of our newsletter from The Splash to La Cascada! For those unfamiliar with the Spanish language, cascada means waterfall

This change reflects our Latino/a culture, and is symbolic of our mission. A waterfall provides a steady source of water to lakes, rivers, and streams as part of the water cycle. In the same way, over the past 10 years WELL has created a network of elected officials and partners who have funneled their collective wisdom into a pool of knowledge. Every election cycle brings a new wave of leaders who, when connected to WELL, help expand this collected information and bring the education and tools needed to address water challenges in their communities. This work moves us forward, helping us to create the solutions needed to bring water equity to all Californians. 

As we continue to progress, we take note that June marked the beginning of summer, family vacations, and graduation season. Unfortunately, for many in the United States, June 2022 will also be recognized as a backward step for women’s rights and gun safety advocates due to recent Supreme Court rulings. Losing on both of these fronts is a setback, but we must continue to advocate for these social health securities.  

This month we also celebrated both LGBTQ+ month and Juneteenth. Pride Month honors the 1969 Stonewall riots and continues the work to achieve equal justice and opportunity for lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, and queer/questioning (LGBTQ+) Americans. This Juneteenth we commemorated the emancipation of enslaved African Americans, while also remembering the work that is still needed to advance equity in the United States. These two communities have made great strides in our country even in the face of adversity. 

June marks the end of our 10-year anniversary conference series. On June 1011, WELL hosted the Southern California Conference at the WRD Albert Robles Center. Read below for more details on the conference. Thank you to all those who attended our conferences this year. We look forward to seeing everyone in person again next year. 

Sí se puede,


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

WELL’s 2022 Conference Series:
Southern California Conference

Top left: Cástulo R. Estrada, Vice-President, Coachella Valley Water District and Boardmember, WELL. Top center: Small-Group Discussion. Top right: Pamela “Pam” Tobin, President, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and Director, San Juan Water District. Lower left: Panel 3, What new water initiatives could lead Californians toward sustainable water usage in the future?. Lower center: Tour of the WRD Albert Robles Center. Lower right: Evening Reception with Cheryl Sudduth, Vice – President, West County Wastewater District, and graduate of WELL UnTapped class of 2022 alongside Gloria D. Gray, Chairwoman, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Director, West Basin Municipal Water District. 

Click here to view photos 

The WELL Southern California Conference was held June 1011, 2022, at the WRD Albert Robles Center in Pico Rivera. Over the course of two days, attendees heard from various speakers and panelists, learning about the challenges facing the water industry. There were a variety of topics covered, including the effects of climate change, infrastructure improvements, and possible solutions that may secure long-term access to clean drinking water for millions. 

On day one, attendees received a tour of the center and attended an evening reception. Guest speakers included Albert Robles, former WRD Director, and Michele Martinez, former Santa Ana Councilmember and California State Transportation Commissioner. The featured speaker at the reception was Gloria D. Gray, Chairwoman, The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California and Director, West Basin Municipal Water District. 

On day two, the Southern California Conference began with keynote speaker E. Joaquin Esquivel, Chair of the State Water Resources Control Board. The next two panels focused on the consequences of climate change on the water industry, strategies and programs to help offset the cost of rising water prices, and grant opportunities for infrastructure improvement projects. Before lunchtime, attendees took part in a small-group discussion on how local elected officials can prepare residents and businesses for upcoming water rate increases. 

During the lunchtime program, graduates of the WELL UnTapped class of 2022 were “pinned” by past graduates as a welcome into the WELL UnTapped Network. This was followed by the lunchtime featured speaker, Pamela “Pam” Tobin, President, Association of California Water Agencies (ACWA) and Director, San Juan Water District. The last panel of the day discussed current water projects and policy initiatives in California, showcasing how diversifying the water supply and improving water efficiency will lessen demand for imported water by large metropolitan communities. 

Graduates of the WELL UnTapped program “WELLo’s” played a significant role in the success of the conference. The WELLo’s roles varied, from participating as members of the planning committee, to moderating panel and small-group discussions, emceeing the conference, and thanking our speakers on both days of the conference.

From this conference, attendees walked away with knowledge that will help them implement the solutions needed to address water challenges within their region. This also concluded the end of our 10-year anniversary conference series. 

Click here to learn about Sponsorship Opportunities.

ACWA Spring Conference & Exhibition Sacramento

This past May, Victor Griego, Founder and President, WELL, served on the panel Making the Business Case for Education in DEI at the ACWA Spring Conference & Exhibition in Sacramento. The moderator for this panel was Joone Kim-Lopez, General Manager, Moulton Niguel Water District, and Boardmember, WELL. The business value proposition, political implications, repercussions of nonaction, and tactical steps needed to ensure accountability in diversity, equity, and inclusion (DEI) efforts is critical and requires an educated and informed approach. Consider listening to experts and leaders as they share their experiences so we can all move toward a successful future for our industry and communities.

Left to right: Moderator (standing) Joone Kim-Lopez, General Manager, Moulton Niguel Water District and Boardmember, WELL. Panelists (seated): Victor Griego, President and Founder, WELL; Stephan Tucker, General Manager, The Water Replenishment District of Southern California; John L. Varela, President, Valley Water; and Pamela “Pam” Tobin, President, Association of California Water Agencies, and Director, San Juan Water District.

Attendees, left to right: Jennifer Santana, Director, Upper San Gabriel Valley Water Company and WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2020; Pamela “Pam” Tobin, President, Association of California Water Agencies, and Director, San Juan Water District; Lenet Pacheco, Director, Valley County Water District and WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2022; Cathy Green, Vice – President, Association of California Water Agencies and  Director, San Juan Water District. (Not pictured: Cheryl Sudduth, Vice-President, West County Wastewater District, David Muse, Vice President, Valley County Water District.)

OC World, hosted by Joone Kim-Lopez, Boardmember, WELL


Starting in July 2022, Joone Kim-Lopez will host OC World’s second season of programs, which will be 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 multi-media company based in Orange County, their mission is to provide residents with critical information to learn more about themselves and their communities, and to provide them with the opportunity to make informed decisions.


The premier of OC World, season two is Monday, July 4 at 5:00 pm (PST) and you can watch it live by clicking here. A recording of the first episode will be available on Tuesday, July 5 at ocworld.org.

WELLo Spotlight

Jorgel Chavez: WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2022 and Mayor Pro Tem, City of Bell Gardens, Jorgel Chavez graduated from the New Leadership Council (NLC) Los Angeles, NLC Institute. The Institute creates space for intensive leadership development and meaningful connection with other changemakers across issues, industries, and identities. The program takes place over six months, focusing on skills building for each cohort one weekend a month. Training includes entrepreneurial goal setting, strategic communications, digital organizing, finance and fundraising, coalition building, public policy, and equity and inclusion. 

Denise Diaz: WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2019 and Councilmember, City of South Gate, Denise Diaz alongside Police Chief Darren Arakawa and Lieutenant Evelyn Garcia gave a presentation at the Best Practices Policy Expo at the National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials (NALEO) 2022 Conference in Chicago. Their presentation, P3’s: Tackling the Mental Health Crisis, outlined how the City of South Gate is providing behavioral programing and mental health services for its entire community through public-private partnerships.

Oscar Ortiz: WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2022 and Mayor Pro Tem of the City of Indio, Oscar Ortiz has taken a new step in his career after being inspired by the WELL UnTapped program to empower communities to learn about the environmental challenges they are facing. In June, Ortiz took on the role of Director of Education at the nonprofit Friends of the Desert Mountains. In this role, he will be expanding the youth education program to new locations and different age groups. The focus of the organization is conservation work. To learn more, visit desertmountains.org. 

Emma Sharif: WELL UnTapped graduate class of 2020 and Mayor, City of Compton, Emma Sharif co-hosted the Juneteenth Day of Service and Community Resource Fair in collaboration with SEIU 721 African American Caucus, Anthem Blue Cross, and the Los Angeles Conservation Corps. As a part of the celebration, the Linda Dent Memorial Amphitheater at the Compton Creek Natural Park was also unveiled. 

WELL Partner Highlights

The Moulton Niguel Water District (MNWD): MNWD’s turf removal rebate and half-off design costs were featured on an ABC 7 newscast, teaching people how to drought-proof their lawns. As part of the news piece, Board President Brian Probolsky and General Manager Joone Kim-Lopez, Boardmember, WELL, were interviewed about the importance of transforming lawns into drought-resilient, native landscapes. They also emphasized how crucial it is to conserve water during fire season, especially in light of the recent Coastal Fire. Click here to watch the news piece. 

Eastern Municipal Water District (EMWD): On June 23, 2022, EMWD celebrated the opening of its new groundwater desalination facility, which will provide a reliable additional local water supply to its service area. The Perris II Desalination Facility is EMWD’s third groundwater desalter; this facility will provide enough water for more than 15,000 households each year through its reverse osmosis treatment process. The Perris II Desalter was funded in part by approximately $22.5 million in grants from the State Water Resources Control Board through Proposition 1, the 2014 voter-approved water bond.

Upper San Gabriel Valley Water District (USGVMWD): In the month of June, USGVMWD launched its water conservation campaign, designed to be larger than life while “on the go.” Ads were placed at transit stations, bus shelters, and digital billboards throughout the San Gabriel Valley as reminders to conserve! 

California Water News June

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 June:

  1. CNN: As California’s big cities fail to rein in their water use, rural communities are already tapped out
  2. Los Angeles Times: California farms and Bay Area cities ordered to stop diverting water from rivers
  3. CNBC: Sweeping water restrictions begin in Southern California as drought worsens
  4. The Mercury News: The West just experienced an aspect of the climate crisis that scientists have warned of for years
  5. KPBS: San Diego City introduces more water restrictions as drought grips California

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 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.