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November 2020 Newsletter

WELL 2020 Virtual Conference Recap! 

On Friday, November 13, WELL hosted its WELL Virtual Conference. More than 125 people from all over the state joined in to learn from water experts and local elected officials about how to ensure clean, safe, and affordable drinking water, protect natural resources, and bolster local economies. One major highlight from the conference was hearing from our keynote speaker, Senator Bill Monning (SD-17). He enlightened us about how to connect public service with community organizing to improve water accessibility and quality. Our water infrastructure, smart growth, and groundwater panels also brought about productive discourse and provided useful information to local Latino leaders. Some photo highlights are posted below. Thanks to everyone who attended. Stay tuned to hear about our next conference, to be scheduled for Spring 2021. 

WELL’s water infrastructure panel included experts from CPUC, SFPUC, and the Delta Conveyance Office.

Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director at CA DWR shared specifics from Governor Newsom’s Water Resilience Portfolio.

WELL would like to give SPECIAL THANKS to all of our sponsors for supporting the WELL Virtual Conference. Their generosity made the event possible, and we appreciate their unending support as WELL transitioned its in-person conference to an online event. 

With our sponsors’ help, we look forward to putting on another great conference in 2021! 

If you’d like to learn more about sponsoring a future WELL Conference, please visit: latinosforwater.org/sponsors

WELL Webinars Through 2021

Our past WELL Webinars—covering topics from groundwater contamination in the Central Valley to water sector impacts of COVID-19—have been some of WELL’s key programs in this new era of virtual programs. We thank all of those who were able to join and support WELL Webinars throughout 2020, and we are excited to announce that they will continue into 2021! Our first WELL Webinar in the new calendar year will be focused on water recycling in Southern California. Stay tuned for upcoming webinar topics, dates, and times. 

Congratulations To All Who Ran for Office in 2020!

As an organization committed to serving local elected leaders, we at WELL would like to congratulate all those who ran for a local office this election cycle. Whether you ran for city council, school board, or a water district seat, your dedication to your community should be celebrated. Win or lose, you should be incredibly proud of your accomplishments. 

Newly elected members: Welcome to the WELL family! We look forward to seeing you grow as leaders and hope you choose to do so with WELL. We’d also like to give a special congratulations to our WELLos who ran either for reelection or for a new office this year. 


Javier Vargas, WELL UnTapped Class of 2020, was recently reelected as the Board Director of Valley County Water District. Congrats, Javier!

Carmen Ramirez, WELL UnTapped Class of 2018, is the new Supervisor-elect for the County of Ventura. Congratulations on your new position, Carmen!

Lamar Thorpe, WELL UnTapped Class of 2019, is the new Mayor-elect for the City of Antioch. Congratulations on your victory, Lamar!


Olivia Trujillo, WELL UnTapped Class of 2020, is the new Mayor-elect for the City of Arvin. She will be the first Latina to serve as Mayor for her city. Congratulations on breaking that glass ceiling, Olivia!



Irais Lopez-Ortega, WELL UnTapped Class of 2019, was recently reelected as a Council Member for the City of Calistoga. Congrats, Irais!


California Water News Highlights

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 September:

  1. KPBS: The Politics of Climate Change Largely Set Aside in Pandemic Year
  2. Valley Public Radio: New National Climate Change Guide Focuses on Impact in San Joaquin Valley Communities
  3. Malibu Times: A Statewide Response to Sea Level Rise
  4. PPIC: New Laws Address Water Affordability and Wildfire Risks
  5. Malibu Times: State Adopts ‘Aspirational’ Plan for the California Coast

WELLo Spotlights

Gene Hernandez, Mayor Pro Tem for the City of Yorba Linda and UnTapped graduate of 2018, was recently appointed Chairman of the Association of California Cities-Orange County’s Water, Power, and Environment Committee. Through this position, he uses tools he attained from WELL and his other leadership positions to inform and educate local elected officials on water and environmental issues. Congratulations, Gene!


Carmen Montano, Council Member for the City of Milpitas and UnTapped graduate of 2019, recently created her own flyer campaign to encourage safe health practices amid the COVID-19 pandemic. She created her own graphics and posted her flyers all over her community. An example of one of her flyers is shown below. Thanks for working to keep your community safe, Carmen!

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.

Follow WELL on Social Media!

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 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.