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Each year, the Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL) Annual Conference brings together California’s mayors, city council members, county supervisors, school board members and water district directors to share resources and best practices on water management and environmental justice advocacy. The 7th Annual WELL Annual Conference, held on March 28-29th, welcomed 130 guests aboard the historic Queen Mary in Long Beach to explore the theme: Water Resiliency in a Changing Climate – Leaving No One Behind.

Thursday, March 28th began with a pre-conference engagement at Long Beach’s Aquarium of the Pacific. Dr. Jerry Schubel, CEO of the Aquarium, spoke on the intersection of fresh and saltwater, and State Water Resources Control Board Chair Joaquin Esquivel spoke on the Human Right to Water. The group then headed to LA County Sanitation Department’s Joint Water Pollution Control Plant in nearby Carson, where guests toured one of the largest wastewater treatment plants in the world. Each day, the plant processes approximately 260 million gallons of wastewater for reuse in agriculture and other non-for-consumption uses.  Thursday’s evening reception was held at the waterfront Hotel Maya featured remarks from Mayor of Long Beach Robert Garcia and others.

On Friday, March 29th, guests gathered aboard the Queen Mary for the WELL Conference. Exploring the theme Water Resiliency in a Changing Climate – Leaving No One Behind, panels addressed Smart Growth in the Face of Water Stress, The Future of California’s Human Right to Water, and Aftermath of Climate Change Disasters: Managing Water Quality & Electrical Infrastructure. Among the panels’ moderators and panelists were current and former UnTapped fellows and participants (“WELLows”), including Councilmember Gene Hernandez (City of Yorba Linda), Director Gracie Torres (Western Municipal Water District), Councilmember Eduardo Martinez (City of Richmond), Councilmember Ray Marquez (City of Chino Hills), Mayor Grace Vallejo (City of Delano), and former Mayor Pro Tem Michele Martinez (City of Santa Ana). Each person brought a unique perspective to the conversation, creating dynamic, energetic dialogues surrounding the topics that will affect California’s water future for generations to come.

Keynote speakers included Senate Majority Leader Bob Hertzberg, Metropolitan Water District Chair Gloria Gray, and Speaker of the House Anthony Rendon, who welcomed guests with a special video message. The conference was emceed by WELL Board members Mayor Pro Tem Carmen Ramirez (City of Oxnard) and Miguel Luna and featured remarks by WELLows including Councilmember Irais Ortega Lopez (City of Calistoga) and Councilmember Sandra Armenta (City of Rosemead).

We’re very thankful to our speakers, panelists, and sponsors for making the WELL Conference possible!

Special thanks to our 2019 Conference sponsors!