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November 2022 Newsletter

Message from WELL

When the results of the recent general election are certified, a record number of women, people of color, and LGBTQ+ members will be sworn into office at all levels of government in California. Two WELLos, Carmen Montano, an UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2019, from the City of Milpitas, and Eduardo Martinez, an UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2018, from the City of Richmond, are breaking barriers by being elected as the first Latino mayors in their respective cities. 

Furthermore, for the first time, the state Assembly and Senate will look more like California than ever before. The Legislature is on track to have at least 10% LGBTQ representation, making California the first state to achieve proportional LGBTQ+ representation in its legislature. California will also achieve a record number of women members in the State Legislature and is close to reaching gender parity. Currently, women hold or are winning 50 legislative seats, meaning 42% of the 120 seats in both houses will be held by women.

After these newly elected officials are sworn in, the work will begin. As elected officials, it is important to not only vote with your community’s values in mind but to bring forward solutions to your residents’ challenges. Water is at the forefront of these challenges, as California continues to experience record-breaking drought conditions that impact our water quality, the economy, public health, and residents. This is why local elected officials need to understand the water challenges we are facing and the impacts on their community.

WELL works to educate and train local elected officials about California’s water challenges in order to help address impacts to their individual communities. This month we announced the WELL UnTapped Fellowship class of 2023, which will be the largest cohort to date. As we grow the number of elected officials who are educated and trained on California’s water challenges, we are moving ever forward toward closing the water knowledge and equity gap.

¡Sí Se Puede!


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

Announcing the UnTapped Fellowship Cohort Class of 2023

Meet the 2023 UnTapped Fellowship Class!

The WELL UnTapped Fellowship is a selective, six-month program for local elected leaders aimed at helping participants make an impact on California water policy while addressing individual community water challenges. The UnTapped program creates an opportunity for local leaders to engage with water issues by exploring California’s water history and governance, infrastructure, finance, and the impact of climate change on water supply and quality. This curriculum is taught through the lens of the human right to water, with eyes on diversity, equity, and inclusion within the water sector.

After a competitive application process, we have selected 18 local leaders in California to embark on the UnTapped Fellowship program. This class comes from all areas of the state, yet they are united by their passion for water knowledge and for supporting their communities.

To learn more about the 2023 UnTapped class, read their bios here.

Announcing the WELL – AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Class of 2023 Information Session Thursday, December 8, 2022, 12:00 pm – 1:00 pm

California is facing a major water crisis encompassing multiple issues that affect residents, the economy, and the environment. As a result, effective leadership is vital. It is imperative that local elected leaders spearhead the efforts to meet these challenges and that they can make the hard decisions that will place California on a path toward sustainable solutions.

WELL has partnered with AAPI UnTapped Fellowship graduates and local elected officials to plan, organize, and recruit for the WELL – AAPI UnTapped Fellowship Program. The program will help educate local AAPI (Asian American and Pacific Islander) elected officials by providing a foundation of water knowledge to help them be prepared to tackle California’s water crisis. Through interviews and statewide watershed visits, fellows will have a deeper understanding of the impacts of today’s water challenges on their constituents and hear forward-thinking solutions designed by other California leaders. Through this fellowship, AAPI elected officials will enhance their water knowledge and leadership skills, allowing them to take more effective action on water policy issues and assist in solving the state’s increasing water challenges.

Click here to view the recording

Click here to apply for the Fellowship Program

Save the Date: WELL’s 11th Annual Statewide Conference

Can you answer your residents’ water-related questions? How is your city or local water agency preparing for future water issues or funding opportunities? Join us at our annual conference to better understand evolving public policy issues.

WELL will bring together top water policy experts and practitioners to share their knowledge on California’s top water challenges and the opportunities to mitigate their impacts. Join us to expand your water knowledge and help provide water solutions for your community.

RSVP by clicking here

WUN Retreat 2022, Burbank

Upon graduating from the WELL UnTapped Fellowship Program (WELLos) are inducted into WELL UnTapped Network (WUN), where they can continue their leadership training and education on California water policy. This network allows the WELLos to strengthen their community’s water resiliency. 

WELL hosted its second WUN retreat in Burbank on November 1718, 2022. The event brought together four graduating cohorts for a weekend to continue their water education and leadership development. Also in attendance were WELL Boardmemers Diana Mahmud and Miguel Luna and President and Founder Victor Griego. 

The retreat started with a dedication to Ventura County Supervisor and WELL Boardmember Carmen Ramirez and San Joaquin Councilmember Jose Orneales, two graduates of the UnTapped Fellowship that have passed away. The WELLos practiced their WELL Method of Inquiry (MOI) by interviewing guest Rick Cole and the art of Public Narrative through a training session.  In addition, the Council for Watershed Health hosted the WELLos for a tour of the Elmer Avenue Water Augmentation Neighborhood Demonstration project.

A special thank you to Woodbury University for hosting the group on day one, and the Council for Watershed Health for giving the WELLos a tour of Elmer Avenue!

WELL is hiring! We are looking for a new Deputy Director to join our team. Are you ready to play a role in tackling the water crisis in California? The Deputy Director position is an empowering and challenging opportunity for a highly motivated candidate. Please share this opportunity with your network and any potential candidates.

WELL’s Policy and Curriculum Advisor, Dr. Samuel Sandoval Solis, Gave a Presentation at the California Climate and Agriculture Network Summit

Professor Sandoval Solis gave a presentation at the California Climate and Agriculture Network (CalCan) Summit on November 14, 2022. The session focused on improving nitrogen and irrigation practices in California. To learn more about the summit, click here. 

Leticia Gonzalez, Supervisor, County of Madera and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2022: Supervisor Gonzalez was voted in as the Co-Chair for the Women Leadership Forum  of California States Association of Counties (CSAC). The Forum connects, educates, and seeks to inspire the women of CSAC through hosted meetings and events. The Forum also hopes to mentor, suggest helpful information on protocols, provide leadership training opportunities, and discuss emerging issues in California. 

Corina Lopez, Councilmember, City of San Leandro and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2018: Councilmember Lopez received the National League of Cities Women in Municipal Government Leadership Award. The Women in Municipal Government (WIMG) and the National League of Cities (NLC) each year, recognize an individual for initiating creative and successful programs in municipal government that help their community.

Alvaro Preciado, Mayor, City of Avenal and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2019: On November 10, 2022, Mayor Preciado, the Fresno Area Hispanic Foundation, Wells Fargo, and the trust program had the opportunity to reach the Avenal community, offering information on the financial and general interest resources available to them.

Eddie Valero, Supervisor Chairman and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2022: On November 12, 2022, Supervisor Valero competed in the Young Life Dancing with the Stars in Tulare County Fundraiser and won. The fundraiser helped the Young Life/YoungLives of Tulare County, a program dedicated to uplifting and supporting young mothers.

WELL Partner Highlights

California American Water: The American Water Charitable Foundation, a 501(c)(3) organization established by American Water, announced on November 18, 2022, that Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento and the North State Building Industry Foundation (NSBIF) have been awarded a 2022 Workforce Readiness Grant for supporting communities served by California American Water. Habitat for Humanity of Greater Sacramento will use the grant funding to continue its job training partnership with the Cosumnes River College Technology Management Program to provide students with more than 2,000 hours of hands-on construction experience on job sites with instructors and superintendents. NSBIF will use its grant funds to enroll additional youth in its work readiness program for 18 to 24-year-olds. Click here to learn more.

The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California (MWD): MWD co-funded water-saving pump pods for the Ventura County Fire Department (VCFD). The department will save up to 40 million gallons of water over five years through the first-of-its-kind use of pump pods. These pods re-circulate water at full flow during training exercises to meet watering restrictions. VCFD is the first fire department in Southern California to use this innovative training system that is saving millions of gallons of water during training exercises. Three of these pods  were acquired through the help of Metropolitan’s Water Savings Incentive Program, Calleguas Municipal Water District, and California Water Service. Click here for more information on MWD’s incentive program.

West Valley Water District (WVWD): WVWD gave ratepayers a tour of the Oliver P. Roemer treatment plant on November 5, 2022, to get a behind-the-scenes look at the water treatment process and learn from our water professionals. 

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. California Department of Water Resources: DWR Awards $86 Million to Build Water Resilience for Millions of Californians
    2. Los Angeles Times: California set for more brown lawns and water restrictions as state issues 5% allocation
    3. CNN: Wells are running dry in drought-weary Southwest as foreign-owned farms guzzle water to feed cattle overseas
    4. National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration: Warm, dry October intensifies U.S. drought Mississippi River sees lowest water levels in a decade

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.