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October 2021 Newsletter

Message from WELL

This month we have seen major water policy measures announced at the state and federal levels. The first item of note happened in mid-October when the Biden administration announced it is launching “a broad strategy to regulate toxic industrial compounds associated with serious health conditions” known as per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS). The head of the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA), Michael Regan, said that the organization is tackling these chemicals due to “PFAS turning up in public drinking water systems, private wells, and even food.” This announcement highlights a step forward in improving water quality in California and the entire United States. 

Then on October 19,  Governor Newsom expanded the drought emergency proclamation, extending it from 50 to all 58 California counties. The proclamation included LA, Orange, San Diego, and San Francisco, but added no mandatory water conservation, though the Governor authorized the prohibition of wasteful water uses, such as spraying down public sidewalks with potable water. As drought conditions worsen, we anticipate that the state will take additional measures in the near future. 

Additionally, toward the end of this month, much of California experienced a “bomb cyclone.” However, the storm only scratched the surface of our need for water; therefore, as California leaders, it is essential that we spread community awareness and provide education about mindful water use to all our stakeholders. 

As we continue this conversation about drought resilience, we hope you will join us for our next webinar on December 7. In the upcoming webinar, California Drought: The State’s Response and the Financial Impact on Communities, panelists will share recommendations about the steps that can be implemented now to help navigate the current drought. Learning about these actionable items can help mitigate financial hardships your community may experience during any prolonged period of drought.

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. Learning about these action items can help mitigate the financial hardships your community may experience during any prolonged period of drought. You can register by clicking here


RECORDING: October WELL Webinar: 

The Future of Water Jobs: Training the Next Generation of Water-Sector Practitioners

On October 13, local elected officials and WELL supporters joined WELL in an important discussion on the future of water jobs. Our panel included Channing Hawkins, Board President of West Valley Water District and Founder of IE Works; Beverli A. Marshall, General Manager of Valley Sanitary District; and Chris Hannan, Executive Secretary of Los Angeles/Orange Counties Building and Construction Trades Council. Our webinar was moderated by Stephan Tucker, General Manager of the Water Replenishment District of Southern California. The webinar highlighted workforce development initiatives, job training, and apprenticeship programs, as well as the related funding to help assist women, people of color, and other underrepresented individuals seeking employment in good, high-paying jobs in the water sector. Thank you to all those who attended, and to our sponsor West Valley Water District. You can watch the recording of this webinar by clicking here

Meet the 2022 UnTapped Fellowship Class!

Congratulations to our 2022 UnTapped Fellowship participants! 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 16 local leaders in California to embark on the UnTapped 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. Meet the WELL UnTapped 2022 Class:

    • Councilmember Jorgel Chavez, City of Bell Gardens
    • Supervisor Leticia Gonzalez, Madera County Board of Supervisors
    • Supervisor Debra Lucero,  Butte County Board of Supervisors
    • Board President David Muse, Valley County Water District
    • Councilmember Oscar Ortiz, City of Indio
    • Board Director Lenet Pacheco, Valley County Water District
    • Councilmember Skylaer Palacios, City of Healdsburg 
    • Councilmember Dr. Monica Sanchez, City of Pico Rivera
    • Board Director Danielle Soto, Three Valleys Municipal Water District
    • Board President Cheryl  Sudduth, West County Wastewater District
    • Councilmember Rafael Trujillo, City of Rialto
    • Supervisor Eddie Valero, Tulare County Board of Supervisor 
    • Mayor Steven Vargas, City of Brea
    • Vice Mayor Monica E. Wilson, City of Antioch
    • Board Member Cindy Wu,  Mountain View School District
    • District Manager James Crawford, California Water Service Company

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

    WELLo Spotlight

    Salvador Melendez: Council member for the City of Montebello and WELL UnTapped of 2020 graduate, Salvador is a founding member of Run Montebello Run, a local organization created to promote community health and wellness. On October 16, alongside his community, he participated in the organization’s 5k/10k run-walk, celebrating the City of Montebello’s 101st year anniversary.

    Emma Sharif: Mayor of Compton and WELL UnTapped graduate of 2020, Emma was recognized by international dignitaries for her support in engaging in international cultural exchange in the City of Compton. Mayor Sharif also served as a panelist at the 7th Annual Los Angeles County Parks and Recreation Girls Empowerment Conference, where she shared her experience with the next generation of leaders. 

    Igor Tregub: A former Berkeley Rent Board Commissioner and WELL UnTapped graduate of 2020, Igor received the 2021 Award of Excellence from the Energy Facility Contractors Group. This award was given in recognition of his positive contributions to improve facility safety practices and the Early Career Task Team with collaboration, mentorship, and community. 

    WELL Partner Highlights

    American Association of Retired Persons (AARP): On October 5, Victor Griego, Founder and President of WELL, and Joone Lopez, General Manager at the Moulton Niguel Water District, served as moderator and panelist for the  AARP-California Climate Chats series on the topic of The Future of California’s Drought & Water. Click here to watch the recording.

    Los Angeles Department of Water & Power (LADWP): On October 16, 2021, LADWP hosted its second annual upper Owens river stewardship event. Volunteers helped clean the watershed, Brown’s Campground, Layton Springs, and Benton Crossing area. They also hosted nature-based kid’s activities and a fly fishing demo. LADWP will also be hosting multiple two-part hands-on workshops to learn about transforming your lawn into a gorgeous sustainable landscape. To find one closest to you, click here.

    Valley Water: On September 18, the Valley Water community joined together for their first in-person California Coastal Cleanup Day annual effort since 2019.  More than 900 volunteers joined together on Coastal Cleanup Day and in teams cleaned up creeks, streams, rivers, and coastal areas. The results were announced this month, and in total, volunteers picked up approximately 29,432 pounds of trash and recyclables and cleaned 99 miles of waterways. To learn more, click here.

    Southern California Water Coalition (SCWC): On October 21, SCWC hosted its Annual Meeting and Dinner in Long Beach. SCWC honored Ron Gastelum with the Harriett M. Wieder Award.  Ron served as the former Chief Executive Officer for the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California.  He was a founding board member of WELL and played a significant role in guiding and advancing WELL’s mission over the years. In attendance were WELL Board President and Founder Victor Griego, Board Member Miguel A. Luna, and WELL staff. Congratulations Ron on a remarkable career and for continuing to advance water policy in CA.

    California Water News October

    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 October:

      1. The Los Angeles Times: NASA turns technology back toward Earth to focus on climate change
      2. Water Education Foundation: In the Heart of the San Joaquin Valley, Two Groundwater Sustainability Agencies Try to Find their Balance
      3. Office of Governor Newsom: Governor Newsom Expands Drought Emergency Statewide, Urges Californians to Redouble Water Conservation Efforts
      4. NPR: Satellites reveal the secrets of water-guzzling farms in California
      5. Wall Street Journal: California Drenched as Bomb Cyclone, Atmospheric River Hit West Coast

    Follow WELL on Social Media!

    Follow WELL on social media to get current California water news and updates about WELL programs and events:

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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.

    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.