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September 2020 Newsletter

Wildfires in California

Over the past month, hundreds of wildfires have erupted all over California. Hundreds of thousands of acres have been burned, and hundreds of irreplaceable homes, businesses, and cultural institutions have been destroyed. On behalf of the entire WELL team, our hearts go out to everyone who has dealt with the emotional toll resulting from a wildfire this year. Whether you or a loved one lost a home, or you’ve been trapped indoors due to unhealthy air quality from the smoke and ash, these fires have touched us all. We thank the firefighters, first responders, healthcare professionals, and all other emergency personnel for their heroic efforts to keep the residents of California safe and healthy. 

WELL 2020 Virtual Conference is Less Than Two Months Away!

Register today for the WELL 2020 Virtual Conference! WELL is virtually convening its informative statewide educational water conference for local elected officials on November 13, 2020. We at WELL know that local elected officials make important decisions that ensure clean, safe, and affordable drinking water for all, protect our natural resources, and bolster our local economies. The goal of the WELL 2020 Virtual Conference is to provide these elected officials with a better understanding of important water issues in order to maximize the positive impact they have in their communities. What local elected officials learn from this conference will help them work toward developing comprehensive, long-term water policies. We invite you to participate in this educational opportunity!

Please fill out this form to register.

Event Program

    *Speaker: Santa Clara County Supervisor Cindy Chavez
    *Speaker: California State Senator Bill Monning (SD-17)

    *Moderator: Diana Mahmud, Council Member, City of South Pasadena
    *Panelist: Cathy Sandoval, Former Commissioner, CA Public Utilities Commission
    *Panelist: Tony Estremera, Director, Valley Water
    *Panelist: Steve Ritchie, Assistant General Manager of Water Enterprise, SFPUC
    *Panelist: Gustavo Camacho, Mayor, City of Pico Rivera

    *Moderator: Eduardo Martinez, Council Member, City of Richmond
    *Panelist: Michelle Banonis, Assistant Chief Deputy Director, CA DWR
    *Panelist: Lamar Thorpe, Council Member, City of Antioch
    *Panelist: Rich Constantine, Mayor, City of Morgan Hill


    *Moderator: Rey Leon, Mayor, City of Huron
    *Panelist: Kassy Chauhan, Executive Officer, North Kings GSA
    *Panelist: Vanessa De La Piedra, Groundwater Manager, Valley Water


  • 2:00 PM ADJOURN

WELL Webinar: Time Is Running Out! More Than 100 Communities Are About to Be Left Holding the Bag on Tainted Water

Many communities across Californiaespecially in the Central Valleyare negatively impacted by water contamination from 1,2,3-trichloropropane (TCP). TCP is a known carcinogen, and water agencies and suppliers impacted by this human-made contaminant may overlook the opportunity to hold the manufacturers accountable that caused the contamination in the first place. Without taking legal action, these water systems are often forced to pass the high costs of treating TCP onto their customers. More than 100 water systems in California face significant clean-up costs from TCP in their water, yet only a few dozen have taken legal action against the manufacturers of the products that caused it.

Time is running out to bring these claims, and cities and water agencies that miss the deadline for filing a lawsuit will be left to pay for the cleanup on their own. In this webinar, you’ll learn how groundwater contaminants like TCP and PFAS impact the health and wellness of communities across California, and how you can beat the December 31st deadline for making the polluters pay for TCP cleanup.

You can register by clicking here. 

Special thanks to the SL Environmental Law Group and AARP!

WELL would like to give special thanks to the SL Environmental Law Group and AARP for sponsoring the upcoming WELL Webinar on October 6, 2020. Their generosity is what is making this event possible, and we appreciate their support of WELL and its programs. We look forward to putting on a wonderful WELL Webinar with them!


California Water News Highlights

Worried that you may have missed some important water news this month? WELL’s got you covered. Here is a sample of noteworthy water news for the month of August:

  1. Environmental Health News: Microplastics in Farm Soils: A Growing Concern
  2. California Globe: California’s Four Water Entities: What’s the Difference?
  3. Circle of Blue: Western Wildfires Damage, Contaminate Drinking Water Systems
  4. SJV Water: Proposed $171 Million Central Valley Groundwater Bank Faces TCP Contamination
  5. CalMatters: Three Lessons for California’s Water Funding Challenges in Today’s Recession

Stay Tuned for WELL UnTapped!

WELL UnTapped will be launching its application in the coming weeks. WELL UnTapped is a selective program that 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 the relationship these aspects of society have to human rights and climate change. Our fourth year of the WELL UnTapped Program will begin February 2021. Rain or shine, stay-at-home or open doors, WELL UnTapped will continue! If you have not already filled out the WELL UnTapped interest form and are considering participating as a WELLo in our next cohort, please fill it out below. 

WELL UnTapped Interest Form

WELLo Spotlights

Irais Lopez-Ortega, Council Member for the City of Calistoga, UnTapped Graduate of 2019, and WELL Advisory Board Member, recently graduated from the Hispanas Organized for Political Equality (HOPE) Leadership Institute. This nine-month leadership training is focused on civic engagement, political organizing, and empowerment. Congratulations, Irais! We can’t wait to see what you take on next. 

Peter Chan, Mayor for the City of Monterey Park, UnTapped Graduate of 2018, was recently re-elected as the Chair of the Chinese-American Elected Officials (CEO), an organization focused on the leadership, civic engagement, and community outreach of Chinese-American Elected Officials in the State of California. Peter was sworn in by California State Treasurer Fiona Ma earlier this month. Congratulations, Peter! We can’t wait to see what you do in your second term. 

Gustavo Camacho, Mayor for the City of Pico Rivera and UnTapped Graduate of 2019, along with Tony Estremera, Director for Valley Water and WELL Advisory Board Member, both participated in a webinar with GreenLatinos on Wednesday, September 30th as a part of GreenLatinos Water Equity Working Group. During this working group, Tony discussed the State Delta Conveyance Project and its funding and environmental challenges. Gustavo spoke about PFAS contamination and public engagement. Great work, Gustavo and Tony!


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!

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 (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.