May 2023 Newsletter
What’s New With WELL
- Sixteen local elected officials graduated from the WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program—The fifth cohort of the Program spent six months learning California water policy. Learn more about their 7th and 8th sessions below.
- WELL UnTapped Fellowship Water Workshop in the City of Paramount—On Saturday, June 17 join recent graduates ( WELLos) for an important discussion with local elected officials and water industry experts about water issues impacting the region.
- WELL cohosts a webinar with NALEO: A Conversation About Water—Join WELL and NALEO as we co-host a webinar on Thursday, June 8, from 12:00 p.m. – 1 p.m. PST to continue elevating the critical water conversation among elected officials in California and across the nation.
- WELLos Spotlight—As our WELLos continue their leadership and enact positive change, we highlight cohort members as they continue embodying WELL’s mission.
- Apply Now: WELL-AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Program— This year WELL will host a second UnTapped Fellowship cohort! Apply for the WELL-AAPI UnTapped Fellowship so you can make positive impacts in mitigating our state’s water crisis.
- Event Recap: Addressing Water Challenges in BIPOC Communities—The California League of California Cities Latino & African American Caucuses, California Water Service, and WELL hosted a hybrid education event bringing together a panel of leaders discussing BIPOC communities’ water challenges and possible solutions.
- Partners’ Spotlight—Whether it’s collaborating with water agencies to banking surplus water, holding conferences or events, or learning more about what our partners are doing!
- California Water News—Catch some of the latest noteworthy water news during the month of May!
- WELL Associate Members—Want to help? Become an Associate Member today! View our current members and find out more about this process in the link below.
May Newsletter Commentary:
May is Asian American and Pacific Islander (AAPI) History Month. We acknowledge the significant contributions AAPI people have made to the development and management of water resources in California. The AAPI community has played a vital role in shaping the state’s water infrastructure, conservation practices, and policy frameworks. From early immigrants who labored in building irrigation systems and agricultural networks to engineers and scientists advancing water technology and sustainable practices, AAPI individuals have made great contributions to California’s water management.
WELL defines a Latino leader as any leader who represents a Latino constituency and has already graduated several AAPI local elected officials through our UnTapped Fellowship Program. These AAPI graduates have created a committee to plan and recruit the WELL-AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Program, designed to increase participation among AAPI elected officials involved in water decision-making. Applications for this program are now being accepted on a rolling basis. You can find more information about the fellowship below.
Also this month we hosted the graduation ceremony in Sacramento for the fifth cohort of the WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program! After spending the past few months learning about statewide water issues in California, these new Fellows will now put their education into action and start working with their planning committee members and legislators to craft a regional water workshop that educates other local elected leaders about regional water challenges and possible solutions. Follow WELL on social media @latinosforwater to locate the workshop closest to you.
It is important for you as elected leaders to be informed about not only regional but also statewide water challenges. Most notable is the historical deal seven U.S. states reached on May 22 to cut consumption of Colorado River waters. Arizona, California, and Nevada will reduce intake by 3 million acre-feet, and California will give up about 1.6 million acre-feet of water through 2026. What investments will need to be made in order to adapt to these reductions in water supplies? How will your residents be impacted as California works to implement these changes? Join us to learn more about this and other water challenges and opportunities.
¡Sí Se Puede!
Victor Griego Paul C. Hernandez
Founder and Board President Executive Director
WELL UnTapped Fellowship Graduation (Session 8): May 22–23, 2023
On May 23–24, WELL hosted the eighth and final UnTapped Fellowship Session for the class of 2023 in Sacramento at the state Capitol, where Fellows met with their lawmakers and invited them to co-host legislative workshops in their districts. The purpose of the legislative workshops is bringing together local elected officials to learn about water issues and solutions at the local level. The Sacramento session also included a graduation dinner with several guests and a tour of the Sacramento-San Joaquin River Delta.
After the legislative visits on Day 1, WELL hosted a graduation dinner in a riverboat on the Sacramento River. Helping celebrate their graduation were Katie Dahl, member services manager, ACWA; Anecita Agustinez, tribal policy advisor, DWR; state Senator Maria Elena Durazo; Assemblymember Blanca Pacheco; Senator Anna Caballero; Assemblymember Mike Fong; Assemblymember David Alvarez; Virginia Madueno, chair, Delta Stewardship Council; Danielle Blacet, deputy director, CMUA; Erika Arriaga, executive director, League of Cities Latino Caucus; Bismark Obando, director of Public Affairs, California League of Cities; Fidel Gomez, manager of government affairs, Western States PepsiCo; Assemblymember Eduardo Garcia; Marc Grossman, spokesperson, Cesar Chavez Foundation; Miguel Luna, board member, WELL, and director, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California; Dr. Jose Pablo Ortiz Partida, Union of Concerned Scientists; Professor Samuel Sandoval Solis, U.C. Davis; and Victor Griego, president & founder, WELL.
On Day 2, the WELLos traveled to the Sacramento Delta town of Hood to discuss the Delta Conveyance Tunnel with Gia Moreno, a local resident. The WELLos then continued the discussion with Tom Slater, trustee of a reclamation district and local farmer. The group then visited the Locke Historic District and listened to the history of Chinese immigrants’ roles in shaping the Sacramento River Delta. WELLos then walked the Big Break Regional Shoreline to learn more about the region before heading to the U.C. Davis Fish Conservation and Culture Laboratory to learn about fish conservation. The WELLos then discussed next steps and prepared to implement what they learned in their capstone project, their legislative water workshop.
This session marked the end of the Fellowship and the beginning of work they will continue within their communities to help bring their constituents clean and affordable drinking water.
The 16 graduates, as WELLos, are also now a part of the WELL UnTapped Network (WUN). This class brings the total number of graduates of the Fellowship to 61. The WELLos are from all across the state of California and are composed of local elected officials, including mayors, city council members, school board members, county supervisors, and water board members.
WELL UnTapped Fellowship Water Workshop in the City of Paramount on Saturday, June 17, 2023
On Saturday, June 17 join graduates of WELL’s UnTapped Fellowship Program, Councilmembers Dr. Heber Márquez (city of Maywood), Kevin Lainez (city of Commerce), Brenda Olmos (city of Paramount), and Ana María Quintana (city of Bell) at Progress Park in the City of Paramount. You are invited to be a part of an important discussion with local elected officials and water industry experts about water issues impacting the region. Topics will include water resources and usage in the region as well as the future of water in California.
The Water Workshop will be held on Saturday, June 17 from 9 to 11:30 a.m. This event is FREE and open to all local elected officials within California Senate District 33 and Los Angeles County District 4. Lunch will be served.
UnTapped Fellowship water workshops are organized by graduates of the UnTapped Fellowship Program and provide an opportunity for WELLos to showcase both their leadership skills and recently obtained water knowledge. The workshops bring together various local elected officials to learn about regional water challenges in order to find solutions to these important dilemmas.
WELL UnTapped Fellowship Session 7: May 18, 2023
The class of 2023 met virtually on May 18 for a final session before embarking on the following week’s trip to Sacramento. Joined by graduates of the UnTapped Fellowship Program (WELLos), they received mentorship on forming planning committees and fostering collaborations so they will be able to conduct successful water workshops as their UnTapped Fellowship capstone project.
Later, they received additional training on how to hold successful 1:1 meetings and how to create effective teams and agendas—tools that will guide them throughout the planning process for their water workshops. Most importantly, the workshops allow Fellows to build water-resilient communities and to work to solve California’s water crisis.
Webinar with NALEO—A Conversation About Water
WELL and NALEO (National Association of Latino Elected and Appointed Officials) will co-host a webinar on Thursday, June 8, 12 p.m. to 1 p.m. Pacific Time to continue elevating the water conversation among elected officials in California and across the nation. How is extreme weather affecting water resources throughout the U.S.? How can we prepare to meet water demands for growing populations? These and other vital questions impact states across the country. This event will be moderated by City of Rialto Councilmember Rafael Trujillo, a WELL UnTapped Fellowship Graduate, Class of 2023.
Join us for this critical conversation with water experts to learn about efforts across the country to mitigate the effects on water resources of extreme dry weather. The discussion will also highlight solutions by communities to build a more sustainable and equitable water future for all.
NALEO will continue discussing the effects of extreme weather events at its 40th Annual Conference on July 11–13 in New York City during the sessions “Compounding Hazards: Extreme Heat and Droughts” and “Floods: The Most Common and Costly Weather-Related Disaster.”
Event Recap: Addressing Water Challenges in BIPOC Communities
On May 10, 2023, the California League of Cities, the Latino and African American Caucuses, the California Water Service, and WELL hosted a hybrid education event at the West Basin Municipal Water District.
The event featured current Fellows of the WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program. Together, they addressed water challenges within African American, Indigenous, Latino, and other people of color communities. California has one million people who do not have access to clean drinking water, most in communities of color. The webinar brought together a panel of leaders to discuss how these issues are impacting their communities and possible solutions. It included WELL UnTapped 2023 Fellows Mayor Anna Velazquez of the City of Soled and Director Channing Hawkins from the West Valley Water District.
Debra Lucero, Former Supervisor, County of Butte and UnTapped Fellowship Graduate, Class of 2022: During the California Water Association Spring Conference in early May, former county Supervisor Lucero joined a Diversity Partnership Panel to share WELL’s approach to partnership and collaboration designed to engage local elected Latino leaders and organizations in California water policy conversations.
Cindy Wu, Boardmember, Mountain View Unified School District and WELL UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2022: Wu, Boardmember, Inspired by a speech she heard on gun violence brought forward a resolution before the Mountain View Unified School District in support of reducing gun violence and making communities safer. Since January, Wu has been working along with other leaders with victims of the Monterey Park mass shooting to help organize peer-to-peer support groups and to create a platform for peer-to-peer emotional support.
Brenda Olmos, Councilmember, City of Paramount, and WELL UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2023: Olmos was a part of the host committee for the Children’s Benefit Dinner sponsored by the Community Family Guidance Center. The dinner benefited Southeast Los Angeles County’s underserved populations to ensure youth have access to mental health treatment and to provide comprehensive prevention and early intervention services.
Dr. Heber A. Marquez, Councilmember, City of Maywood, and WELL UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2023: In May, Dr. Marquez obtained his doctoral degree in education from the University of Southern California Rossier School Education Department. Congratulations from WELL and your WELLo colleagues! We are excited to see how you will continue to inspire future generations.
WELL Partner Highlights
Western Municipal Water District (Western Water): Western Water is collaborating with six water agencies throughout Southern California to bank surplus water from the wet winter. Through new enhancements to the Santa Ana River Conservation and Conjunctive Use Program, also known as SARCCUP, Western Water and its partners can now purchase surplus water imported via the State Water Project and store it in six groundwater basins within the Santa Ana Watershed.
Valley County Water District: The Valley County Water District celebrated its Annual Water Awareness Event on May 5 in Baldwin Park, at the Lante Treatment Facility. Through this event, VCWD reached out to the community and connected with families of all ages to discuss water issues in their city.
California Water Association Spring Conference: This year’s CWA Spring Conference on May 11–12 in Sacramento boasted a vast array of water leaders as speakers and moderators. Save the date for CWA’s 2023 Annual Conference on October 16–18, taking place in Monterey, CA.
California Water News—May
Worried you may have missed some important recent water news? WELL has you covered! Here is a sample of noteworthy water news during the month of May:
- CalMatters: Colorado River deal: What does it mean for California?
- LA Times: Supreme Court scales back clean water protections. What does it mean for California?
- CA DWR: DWR Launches ‘Be Well Prepared’ Program to Ensure Safe and Reliable Drinking Water for Households and Communities Dependent on Groundwater
- LA Times: Audit finds problems in how California manages water
- NPR: California wants to store floodwaters underground. It’s harder than it sounds
Follow WELL on Social Media!
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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.