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November 2021 Newsletter

Message from WELL

November has been a transformative month for the ongoing drought crisis, we have seen a broad range of water disparities in each region of California. In Southern California, the largest urban water district, the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, declared a drought emergency and called for local water suppliers to immediately cut the use of water from the State Water Project. In Northern California, the San Francisco Public Utilities Commission declared a water shortage emergency and called on nearly three million of its customers in San Francisco and three other Bay Area counties to reduce their water usage. New data released this month showed few people in California have reduced their water consumption. The State has seen a reduction of only 3.6% since July when Governor Newsom asked Californians to reduce their water usage by 15%. This means across California we all have to increase our conservation effort to lessen the impact of this drought.

As we continue to move forward, bold changes and strong leadership are needed to address California water challenges. Californians have proven time after time, they are willing to help find solutions via the ballot box or by way of local activism. As local leaders, you now need to bring this issue to the forefront with your community. Together, we will find innovative solutions and new partnerships to make California more resilient to the broad water challenges that face our communities. 

Finally, as the holiday season began last week, with Thanksgiving, we have been reflecting and rejoicing in having the opportunity to reunite with our families this year under safer circumstances. We are also taking the time to be thankful for what we have, and continue to be motivated in helping those who are in need of extra support. We continue to recognize our WELL leaders who are contributing to help make this difference for residents in their community.

Sí Se Puede!


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

WELL Webinar: Tuesday, December 7, 2021, 12:00 1:00 PM 

California Drought: The State’s Upcoming Response and the Financial Impact on Communities

After two exceptionally dry winters, California is once again experiencing drought conditions. Furthermore, global climate change has intensified drought conditions, as increasing winter and summer temperatures dry out soils, exacerbating the drought’s impacts in our state. These circumstances can impact local residents with localized water restrictions, water rate increases, and even access to affordable produce. These uncertainties, coupled with the COVID-19 financial crisis, place additional hardship on those members of your community who are already vulnerable.

Since our last major drought in 20122016, California has implemented vital improvements to state water policies and procedures, including the new CA Water Resilience Portfolio. With most snowfall and rain occurring between November and April, the upcoming wet season will be a key indicator of the measures that will need to be taken in response to the drought if we experience another drier-than-normal season.

To help community leaders prepare, WELL will host a panel discussion showcasing subject matter experts who will share recommendations about the steps that can be implemented now to help navigate the current drought. The panelists are, Adel H. Hagekhalil, General Manager of The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, Elizabeth Nunez, City Manager for the City of San Joaquin, and Eddie Ocampo, Director of Community Sustainability at Self-Help Enterprises. Learning about these action items can help mitigate the financial hardships your community may experience during any prolonged period of drought. 

Giving Tuesday:

November 30th is GivingTuesday. Today is an opportunity for people around the world to use their individual power of generosity to remain connected and support their communities. As we reflect on the progress of 2021 and work toward our 2022 goals, your support enables WELL to move forward. Your donation directly supports our work, as we educate and train California’s Latino leaders on water policy to address current and future water challenges. We hope you will contribute today to assist us in making a difference for all Californians. Please visit the link below to make a donation to WELL. As a 501(c3) non-profit, your gift may be eligible for a tax deduction.

Meet the 2022 UnTapped Fellowship Class!

The WELL UnTapped Fellowship is a selective, six-month program for local leaders aimed at helping participants make an impact on California water policy while addressing individual community challenges with water. The UnTapped program creates an opportunity for local leaders to engage with water issues through a comprehensive and active exploration of history, governance, public policy, geography, and economics and their relationship to human rights and climate change. 

After a competitive application process, we have selected a total of 17 local leaders in California to embark on the UnTapped program. Three additional fellows from Orange County have joined the UnTapped Fellowship class of 2022.

      • Board Director Sherry Wanninger, Moulton Niguel Water District
      • Councilmember Nelida Mendoza, City of Santa Ana
      • Council Member Jesús Silva, City of Fullerton

To learn more about the 2022 UnTapped class, read their bios here.

WELLo Spotlight

Belen Bernal: Executive Director of LA Nature for All and WELL UnTapped graduate of 2019. In partnership with the San Gabriel Water District, LA Nature for All will be hosting a three-part course for their Water Warriors Workshop Series. The course will be educating participants on where their water comes from, the history of the region’s water, how the drought impacts the community, and what can be done in homes and the community to be water resilient. 

Corina Lopez: Councilmember for the City of San Leandro and WELL UnTapped graduate of 2018, Lopez helped support the Fall Planting Party to plant Bay-friendly plants and mulching areas in downtown San Leandro in partnership with the City of San Leandro Office of the City Manager and Public Works Department. Alongside her, were 50+ volunteers consisting of students, community members, and local organizations.

Igor Tregub: Former Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner, and UnTapped Fellowship graduate of 2020, was appointed to the America’s Waters & Drinking Water workgroup of the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency’s (EPA) Local Government Advisory Committee. As part of the committee, Tregub will address a number of pressing issues related to the EPA’s work. 

Lamar Thorpe: Mayor for the City of Antioch, and UnTapped Fellowship graduate of 2019, was spotlighted on November 11, Veteran’s Day, for the 8 years he served in the US Navy. As a Navy veteran, honor, courage, and commitment are the core values he has carried with him since his time in service.  Now as Mayor, Thorpe is working alongside his community to make police reform a top priority. To watch the full interview click here:  https://www.ktvu.com/video/1001039 

WELL Partner Highlights

California Water Service (CalWater): CalWater partnered with local legislators and charitable organizations this month to support struggling families with Thanksgiving meals and essential services. Through Operation Gobble, their Salinas, King City, and Rancho Dominguez Districts provided $23,500 in donations. 

The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD)In November the WRD Board of Directors approved and continued their long-standing partnership with our organization as a WELL Associate Member. WRD moved their membership from Silver to a Platinum membership, this is the highest level of our associate membership. WELL appreciates the continued recognition and support of the work that we do from WRD. 

On November 17, WRD celebrated the completion of the Maywood Mutual No. 2 Water Treatment Project alongside their partners the State Water Resources Control Board and Speaker Anthony Rendon. This marks the completion of the first WRD Safe Drinking Water Projects under the Disadvantaged Community Program. This project will bring safe and reliable water to residents of Southern LA County. WRD is the largest groundwater agency in the state of California, managing and protecting local groundwater resources for over four million residents.

Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (USGVMWD): From October – November USGVMWD hosted its virtual program, Conserve-A-Palooza. For five weeks,  every resident living within the Upper District’s service area had the opportunity to participate and potentially win a variety of conservation items. To enter the giveaway, residents answered a variety of trivia questions posted on Upper District’s Twitter, Facebook, Instagram, and LinkedIn platforms. Link to learn more: https://upperdistrict.org/conserveapalooza/

California Water News November

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 November:

  1. American Society of Civil Engineers: Study: Droughts may affect groundwater more than expected
  2. Cal Matters: Four San Joaquin Valley groundwater plans deemed inadequate
  3. Capital and Main: Rooted in Exclusion, California Towns Fight for the Right to Water
  4. The Mercury News: California drought: Proposed ballot measure would fast-track construction of dams, desalination plants and other water projects
  5. The Sacramento Bee: ‘Backsliding.’ California mostly ignores Newsom’s plea to conserve water during drought

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

Earlier this year, WELL established an Associate Member Program. This program enables organizations to gain access to Latino leaders who share similar interests, allowing members to strategize about the best ways to solve California’s water challenges. Our Associate Members’ participation is a key component to our mutual continued success. We thank our Associate Members, listed below, for their support. If you’d like to learn more about the Associate Member Program, please visit: latinosforwater.org/associatemembers.