WELL UnTapped 2018
The first graduating class of WELL UnTapped consisted of 11 local elected officials from throughout California. These fellows participated in a year-long program in which they traveled the state to learn about regional watersheds, California water governance, and the leadership skills needed to effect change in the water policy arena. Fellows completed a rigorous program while working on a local water project in their own community. These projects were varied, ranging from local conservation campaigns to purple pipeline extensions.
Throughout the year, the UnTapped class participated in leadership-building events, in which they learned the Method of Inquiry and Public Narrative techniques. The work culminated in a legislative briefing on February 28, 2018, in Sacramento, where they gave presentions about legislation surrounding the human right to water.
From 2017 to 2018, the UnTapped fellows completed the following curriculum, gaining priceless public leadership skills and water knowledge.
April 7–9, 2017: Fellows had their opening retreat in the City of Industry. They engaged in team-building exercises and were introduced to CA Water in the context of climate change and human rights. The highlight was a team-bonding tour of the Hsi Lai Temple in Hacienda Heights. This Buddhist temple is the largest in the United States. The trip concluded with the water festival, an event that occurs every ten years in the Buddhist tradition.
May 19–20, 2017: The Central Valley welcomed UnTapped! Fellows traveled to Visalia, where they learned about water quality and agriculture. In Fresno, fellows engaged in a lively conversation with author and journalist, Mark Arax, and Central Valley farmer, Joe Del Bosque. The public narrative technique was introduced.
June 9–10, 2017: UnTapped met in Los Angeles to tour the Hyperion Water Reclamation Plant. The fellows discussed water conservation, efficiency, and stormwater management. Martha Trembley of the LA County Sanitation District spoke to the group on Friday evening while Mark Gold and Jeff Kightlinger of the Metropolitan Water District joined UnTapped on Saturday.
July 14–15, 2017: The Sierra Club hosted UnTapped at its national office in Oakland. Jerry Meral presented on the timing of and controversy over the California Water Fix. PG&E also presented on current water legislation in Sacramento.
August 11–12, 2017: The fellows met in Oxnard, where they learned about water supply and population growth. The class dived deeper into the public narrative by practicing the story of self, story of us, and story of now. Guests included Russ Baggerly, director [B1] of the Casitas Municipal Water District, and Johnny Johnston, mayor of Ojai. Both speakers were presented with a bottle of wine called “1000 Stories,” a brand that became UnTapped’s signature gift in celebration of the fellows working on the public narrative and telling their personal stories.
September 8–9, 2017: A session on integrated regional watershed management was held in Ontario, where fellows interviewed a senior resource manager at the Inland Empire Utilities Agency. The highlight of this session was a great conversation on team building and communications led by Ken Chawkins from SoCalGas.
October 6–7, 2017: The UnTapped class traveled south to San Diego, where they enjoyed a view of Mexico from the IBWC International Treatment Plant. Fellows learned about the Colorado River Basin and key water supply issues. Former State Senator, the Hon. Denise Moreno Duchany, presented on Friday evening.
November 3–4, 2017: Fellows gathered in Long Beach to learn about water quality and affordability from experts at the State Water Resources Control Board and Community Water Center. They spent the day learning at the Long Beach Museum of Latin American Art (MOLA) and practiced the method of inquiry. Long Beach Mayor Robert Garcia joined UnTapped Friday evening at a welcoming dinner.
December 8–9, 2017: UnTapped learned about climate change impacts on water at UCLA in Los Angeles. Climate Resolve Executive Director Jonathan Parfrey presented on Friday evening about how local cities can prepare for climate change and a limited water supply in the future. Fellows reviewed Human Right to Water legislation proposing a safe and affordable drinking water fund and prepared group statements for the legislation briefing.
January 19–20, 2018: The fellows concluded their research on the Human Right to Water at TreePeople’s headquarters in Los Angeles. Former Assembly member Mike Eng discussed his involvement in authoring California’s historical Human Right to Water Bill (AB 685).
February 28–March 1, 2018: The inaugural cohort presented on the Human Right to Water at the State Capitol building in Sacramento. Eleven elected officials were successfully matriculated. Preparation and coordination occurred before and after the presentation at the Sacramento office of the Metropolitan Water District. California Assembly Speaker Anthony Rendon presented state proclamations to the fellows on Thursday evening at a graduation dinner.