Water Education Foundation

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The Water Education Foundation is a nonprofit organization whose goal is to provide unbiased, balanced information on water issues in California and the Southwestern United States.

The Foundation's mission for 35 years[1] has been "to create a better understanding of water resources and foster public understanding and resolution of water resource issues through facilitation, education and outreach." [2]

Located in Sacramento, California, the Foundation offers publications, public television documentaries, briefings and conferences and school programs to help educate the public on a variety of water issues. The Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of 30 members representing water, education, business, environmental and public interest communities in California. The board of directors meets quarterly.[3]

Public television documentaries[edit]

In 2009 the Foundation won a regional Emmy award for the 2008 public television documentary, Salt of the Earth: Salinity in California’s Central Valley hosted by comedian Paul Rodriguez.[4] This program discusses the growing problem of salt buildup in the Central Valley and discusses potential solutions. Two other documentaries, Fate of the Jewel (2001), which discusses Lake Tahoe pollution, and High Stakes at the Salton Sea (2002),[5] which discusses efforts to restore the Salton Sea and is narrated by actor Val Kilmer, also received regional Emmy awards.[6]

Publications, briefings and conferences[edit]

The flagship of the Foundation is Western Water, [7] a quarterly magazine through which readers learn about topics such as California water supply, water quality, the Colorado River, the Sacramento-San Joaquin Delta,[8] groundwater, and endangered species.[9]

In 2000, the Foundation released a book, Water and the Shaping of California,[10] written by Program Director Sue McClurg.[11] With a foreword written by historian Kevin Starr, the book features historical photos of water while the text discusses the way water has influenced the development of the state’s cities and farms. The book includes well-known quotations and excerpts from literature about water.[12]

Each year the Foundation organizes conferences and briefings that focus on current water issues and include prominent speakers from the water community.[13] Events in 2009 included a U.S.–Mexico Binational Drought Science conference with the California Department of Water Resources.[14] Events in 2010 have included an International Groundwater Conference, organized with the University of California, Davis, with speakers from organizations including U.S. Geological Survey, International Water Management Institute and the California Farm Bureau.[15] In August 2010 the Foundation was one of several nonpartisan groups (including the California Center for the Book and the California State Library) that participated in 'Water Conversations' held in the Sacramento Delta area by the University of California Cooperative Extension Service.[16]

Water tours[edit]

Each year the Foundation offers tours that allow participants to visit various water facilities, rivers and regions in California and the Southwest for educational purposes. Speakers representing water districts, agricultural and environmental interests discuss topics including water supply, water quality, environmental restoration, flood management, groundwater and water conservation.[17] Tours include the Sacramento San-Joaquin Delta,[18] the Lower Colorado River, California's Central Valley [19] and the San Joaquin River.

Project WET[edit]

The Foundation is the California Coordinator for Project WET (Water Education for Teachers), an award-winning,[20] nonprofit water education program and publisher.[21] The program facilitates and promotes awareness, appreciation, knowledge, and stewardship of water resources through the dissemination of classroom-ready teaching aids and the establishment of internationally sponsored Project WET programs.[22]


In 2008, the Foundation began a partnership with Aquafornia,[23] a web site that posts daily news updates on water issues.[24] These updates are taken from a variety of sources including mainstream newspapers and magazines, other water blogs, press releases, trade journals and other non-traditional news sources.

Funding sources[edit]

The Foundation’s general activities were supported by contributions, sales of public educational materials,[25] tours and briefings.[26] A variety of grants from government agencies, private foundations and other organizations funded some of the Foundation’s special programs, publications and projects in 2009.[27]


In 2009 the Foundation assisted the reading promotion agency California Center for the Book with developing resources to help public libraries host programming about water. The project is continuing through 2010 and is offered to all 181 library districts in the state.[28]

The Foundation is the fiscal sponsor for a feature-length documentary film which examines the life of former California governor Edmund G. "Pat" Brown, titled "California State of Mind: The Legacy of Pat Brown." The film focuses in part on his quest to build the California Aqueduct and his fight against the death penalty.[29][30]


  1. ^ Managing for healthy ecosystems - Google Books. Books.google.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  2. ^ http://www.watereducation.org/userfiles/WEFbrochureWEB.pdf
  3. ^ "Water Education Foundation". Watereducation.org. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  4. ^ http://www.emmysf.tv/emmy09winpr.pdf
  5. ^ NATAS/NorCal (2003-04-17). "The National Academy Of Television Arts & Sciences San Francisco/Northern California Chapter". Emmysf.tv. Retrieved 2010-08-05. [dead link]
  6. ^ webmaster. "High Stakes at the Salton Sea". KET. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  7. ^ "Resource: Western Water Magazine". Wiserearth.org. 2006-12-28. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  8. ^ http://www.swhydro.arizona.edu/archive/V7_N5/feature4.pdf
  9. ^ "051201_water". Downeybrand.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  10. ^ "Water and the Shaping of California. (Reviews). - Free Online Library". Thefreelibrary.com. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  11. ^ "Water Education Foundation". Watereducation.org. 2010-07-15. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  12. ^ http://www.lib.berkeley.edu/WRCA/pdfs/news72.pdf
  13. ^ "Water Education Foundation, DWR, Reclamation Board Host Flood Conference: July 27". Yubanet.com. 2007-07-27. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  14. ^ "Binational Drought Science Conference | Southwest Climate Change Network". Southwestclimatechange.org. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  15. ^ "Groundwater Conference 2010". Ag-groundwater.org. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  16. ^ "Delta Community Water Conversation". 2010-08-03. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  17. ^ http://www.water.ca.gov/deltainit/docs/DeltaEnews051310.pdf
  18. ^ "Field Trip: Bay-Delta Tour « Bay Area EcoCalendar « Ecology Center". Ecologycenter.org. 2010-07-14. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  19. ^ "Central Valley Water Tour (Field Trip) ‹ John Muir Institute of the Environment". Johnmuir.ucdavis.edu. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  20. ^ "Awards | About | Project WET - Worldwide Water Education". Project WET. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  21. ^ "Kern County Water Agency". Kcwa.com. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  22. ^ "Coachella Valley Water District - Press Releases". Cvwd.org. 2010-06-17. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  23. ^ "Aquafornia". Aquafornia. 2007-04-18. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  24. ^ "From Aquafornia: California dreamin’ and schemin’ « Waterblogged". Waterblogged.info. 2007-12-01. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  25. ^ "Las Virgenes Municipal Water District : Layperson's Guide Series". Lvmwd.com. 2010-01-05. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  26. ^ "Report: Water Education Foundation". Aguanomics. 2009-03-23. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  27. ^ http://www.watereducation.org/userfiles/2009AnnualReport.pdf
  28. ^ "The California Center for the Book". Calbook.org. Retrieved 2010-08-05. 
  29. ^ "Learning Tools for Tomorrow's Leaders". My California Now. Retrieved 2010-08-13. 
  30. ^ "Pat Brown documentary the work of his granddaughter". Sacramento Bee. Retrieved 2012-04-15. 

Further reading[edit]

External links[edit]