October 2022 Newsletter
Message from WELL
As you’re reading this, we are just a few short days away from the November 8 elections. It is important now more than ever to make sure that our elected officials represent the values of our community members. Earlier this month we were shocked and outraged by the leaked audio recording of a meeting that revealed racist remarks made by several Los Angeles officials. As demonstrated by this audio recording, now more than ever we need elected officials who uplift and move our communities forward—and not at the expense of others. You can read WELL’s statement on these recordings by clicking here.
Each election cycle provides us with the opportunity to elect leaders who will support each local community’s needs. Please be sure to take the time to research candidates and reflect on whether you think your community’s values are being represented. And VOTE!!
According to the California Department of Water Resources, California’s new “water year” started October 1, marking “the official 12-month timeframe used by water managers to compile and compare hydrologic records.” In the past year, we have seen the drastic effects of climate change on both ends of the water spectrum, with record-breaking snowfall last December followed by the driest three winter months in recorded history. We are also experiencing the effects of aridification, meaning a drier and warmer climate, and communities of color continue to be disproportionally impacted by the effects of lower water supplies, such as increasing costs and lack of access to clean drinking water. This is why elected officials need to be educated about the water challenges their communities are facing so that they can provide solutions that fit their residents’ needs. WELL helps to support these educational efforts through our UnTapped Fellowship Program and year-round virtual and in-person programs.
Remember to mail in your voting ballot today or vote by Tuesday, November 8.
Sí se puede,
Victor Griego Paul C. Hernandez
Founder and Board President Executive Director
Dr. Samuel Sandoval Solis Is WELL’s New Policy and Curriculum Advisor
WELL is excited to introduce Dr. Samuel Sandoval Solis as WELL’s new Policy and Curriculum Advisor. We welcome Dr. Sandoval Solis as an extension of our staff and will meet with him regularly to discuss high-impact initiatives.
Dr. Sandoval Solis has assisted WELL staff in enhancing our programs and education curriculum for the past year. In this new role, he is committing to educating and training local Latino elected officials about California water policy to enhance and advance WELL’s mission. Dr. Sandoval Solis is a water champion who has donated his time and energy to several other institutions and organizations. His career has demonstrated a true commitment and passion for educating people about hydrology and California’s water challenges.
It will take a bench of educated Latino leaders to address the water challenges California faces, which is why we are especially excited to have Dr. Sandoval Solis on board to add his expertise and passion to this effort.
Water Education Workshop for Senator Maria Elena Durazo and Staff
WELL was invited by California State Senator Maria Elena Durazo to host a water education workshop during her staff retreat on October 3, 2022. The workshop gave her staff members a snapshot of the most important topics in the water industry. Topics included a history of California’s water, the link between climate change and drought, conservation efforts, and the significance of the Human Right to Water Act. The presenters were WELL staff; Supervisor Leticia Gonzalez, County of Madera, and UnTapped Graduate Class of 2022; and WELL President and Founder Victor Griego. As a panel member, Supervisor Gonzalez shared her perspective on the challenges the Central Valley region is experiencing with the current drought. These discussions helped provide a full understanding of the complexities of California’s water challenges from both urban and agricultural perspectives.
After the workshop, Mr. Griego hosted Supervisor Gonzalez and her District Chief of Staff Karla Estupinian at a dinner at the famous Yang Chow Restaurant as a special thank you to Supervisor Gonzalez for providing her knowledge and expertise to the retreat attendees.
WELL would also like to recognize Senator Durazo’s efforts to expand her knowledge (and that of her staff) about California’s water sector.
WELL Boardmember Miguel Luna Honored at Council for Watershed Health 25-Year Anniversary
On October 18, the Council for Water Shed Health celebrated 25 years of meaningful work in breaking down silos in order to effect sound watershed planning and management. Miguel Luna, Boardmember, WELL, and CEO, Urban Semillas, was honored for his work cultivating relationships between community-based organizations, businesses, elected officials, environmental organizations, academia, governmental agencies, and individuals at the grass-roots level. Felicia Marcus, Visiting Fellow, Water in the West Program, Stanford University, was also honored for her career in making the Southern California region equitable and water-resilient. Ms. Marcus has been a strong supporter of WELL over the years and has been a speaker at our previous events.
Also in attendance were WELL President and Founder Victor Griego, Boardmember Joone Kim Lopez, and Executive Director Paul C. Hernandez. Click here to view a full recap of the event.
WELL Boardmember Joon Lopez Attended 35th Annual CA/HI NAACP State Convention
The CA/HI NAACP State Convention held October 21 – 23 brought together local elected officials, activists, organizers, faith leaders, and entertainers for a multi-day workshop. The convention’s purpose was to promote solutions for some of the most immediate issues facing the African American community and other communities of color in California and Hawaii. On October 22, Boardmember Joone Kim Lopez took part in the Annual Gwen Moore Utilities Workshop and emceed the luncheon. President and Founder Victor Griego was also in attendance.
Caption: L to R: Rick L. Callender, ESQ., President, CA/HI NAACP and CEO, Valley Water; Cheryl Sudduth, Vice President, West County Wastewater District and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2022; Joone Kim Lopez, General Manager, Moulton Niguel Water District and Boardmember, WELL; Victor Griego, President and Founder, WELL.
Emma Sharif, Mayor, City of Compton and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2020: Sharif celebrated Hispanic Heritage Month in the City of Compton as the city hosted the Fiestas Patrias Celebration in partnership with the Latino Chamber of Commerce. During this event, Hispanic Heritage Month was celebrated through history presentations, art, music, dance performance, folklore, and special cuisines. Sharif also honored two community members who continue to positively impact the community: Tomas Carlos, a long-standing Compton resident, and Art Salas, a business owner, Pizza Studios.
Igor Tregub, Former Boardmember, Berkeley Rent Stabilization and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2020: At the New Leaders Council national retreat in August, Tregub was surprised with the 2022 Proximate Leader Award for raising more than $70,000 for relief, resistance, and resettlement efforts in his homeland of Ukraine. At that retreat, he gave a Spark!Talk (a TED-style talk) on his work in trying to save solar energy, the planet, Ukraine, and democracy (including water and energy democracy). The talk included elements of the public narrative he learned in the UnTapped Fellowship Program, the story of self, us, and now. Click here to view the recording.
Peter Chan, Councilmember, City of Monterey Park and UnTapped Graduate, Class of 2019: Chan celebrated his retirement from public service with a fundraiser for the Monterey Park Bruggemeyer Library. Chan’s career includes 10 years of public service on the city council and serving as mayor on three occasions. As a former elected official, Peter will continue to serve his community in various capacities and within WELL.
WELL Partner Highlights
Santa Clara Valley Water District (Valley Water): In order to educate residents about the water challenges the region is experiencing, Valley Water partnered with the Silicon Valley Bicycle Coalition to host a month-long event called Ride Out the Drought (#ROtD). Starting on October 15, the program will continue through November 15 as ROTD combines the joys and benefits of riding bikes with learning about the county’s water delivery system. The goal is to educate residents about the severity of the drought in order to decrease water usage.
Upper San Gabriel Valley Municipal Water District (USGVMWD): USGVMWD hosted its annual WaterFest on October 15 after a two-year break due to COVID-19. The event featured a demonstration garden, information about water-saving services, activities for kids, and live music by the band Suave. This event was held in partnership with Supervisor Kathryn Barger, Los Angeles County, and the Los Angeles County Department of Parks and Recreation.
The Water Replenishment District of Southern California (WRD): WRD General Manager Stephan Tucker was featured on Spectrum 1 News, talking about the completed construction of the Leo J. Vander Lands Advanced Water Treatment Facility. The facility pumps treated wastewater into the aquifer through wells to prevent seawater intrusion, which can contaminate the region’s groundwater. By recycling locally available water sources and storing them in underground aquifers, the project will act as a buffer during droughts and contribute to regional water security. The project also reduces the strain on imported water supplies.
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:
- California Department of Water Resources: New Water Year Begins Amid Preparations for Continued Drought
- Los Angeles Times: New push to shore up shrinking Colorado River could reduce water flow to California
- Gizmodo: This California City Is Rapidly Running Out of Water
- Los Angeles Times: As drought drives prices higher, millions of Californians struggle to pay for water
- California Department of Water Resources: DWR Awards $50.4 Million to Protect California Communities from Flood Risk
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 (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.