Tom Graff Fellow, Diversity Water Markets

With world attention on both the environment and the economy, Environmental Defense Fund (EDF) is where policymakers and business leaders turn for win-win solutions. By focusing on strong science, uncommon partnerships and market-based approaches, we tackle urgent threats with practical solutions. We are one of the world’s largest environmental organizations, with more than two million members and a staff of approximately 630 scientists, economists, policy experts, and other professionals around the world. We operate in 22 geographies with unique projects running across four programs. You will be part of a vibrant workplace that welcomes diverse perspectives, talents and contributions, where innovation and results are a way of life.

Overall Function


EDF’s brand is funded by scientific solutions and market-based incentives to ensure natural resource’s sustainable management. California’s water team is in a unique position of pioneering the first water transfer market in California. We get to design an environmental market from scratch, and the Tom Graff Fellow will develop a key part of the project.


In addition, the Tom Graff Fellow will be part of Tom Graff’s legacy of the idea of using market forces to improve the environment by pushing for water marketing in California. Finally, the Tom Graff Fellow will spear-head a unique research process that combines, science, markets, and fieldwork. To test and promote the viability of water markets that benefit disadvantaged communities, the Tom Graff Fellow will work with urban and agricultural water users, policymakers, state and local agencies, environmental NGOs, and rural community leaders to design pilot projects in select basins at risk of groundwater overdraft. The project will require the Tom Graff Fellow to help lead the outreach, data collection and analysis of different water, geographic and socioeconomic indicators to support the development of water markets that benefit disadvantaged communities. And ensure sustainable groundwater management strategies for improving the reliability and resiliency of the water system.


Tom Graff Fellow will play a key role in the expansion of EDF’s California Water Program to reform California’s water markets aimed at making more water available for ecosystems and disadvantaged communities.


Key Responsibilities

Tasks will include but are not limited to:

  • Partnering with and securing support from local communities for an approach that will help improve groundwater quality and accessibility to safe drinking water

  • Exploring appropriate methods and tools to measure groundwater recharge aimed at increasing groundwater tables and thus improving groundwater quality by lowering concentrations of arsenic, nitrates, selenium etc 

  • Supporting outreach and communications with local Central Valley stakeholders, and investigating the opportunity to pilot a groundwater recharge and water exchange project

  • Building partnerships with Latino organizations, grasstop influencers, political leaders and policymakers

  • Identifying opportunities for the development of water transfers and groundwater recharge on upstream fallowed lands that will improve groundwater quality of aquifers used by disadvantaged communities

  • Identifying any obstacles or barriers to the development of local water markets and suggestions for how to eliminate those obstacles or barriers

  • Participate in multidimensional efforts, round tables, and multi-stakeholder groups to gather information around the impact of groundwater threats on disadvantaged communities and other neighborhood pollution indicators in Central Valley census tracks 

  • Investigating socio-economic impacts of water markets such as land fallowing and the effects it will have on rural local economy as well as health inequality in San Joaquin Valley (SJV) such as higher poverty, accessibility to safe drinking water etc and Social Determinants of Health - place, economic and social history and policy connected to overall lower health of SJV communities

  • Cultivating and strengthening local leadership from within communities to help promote practices that will make these communities more sustainable for the long-term

  • Assisting Project Manager in the implementation of the Leadership Institute, a capacity building workshop aimed to train a new generation of leaders to advocate for safe, reliable drinking water in their communities through hands-on communication, storytelling, market-based incentive design and advocacy training modules that translate water challenges and community stories into engaging talking points for policymakers and live audiences



  • Bachelor’s Degree in social sciences, environmental science, public policy, international relations or other relevant disciplines

  • Meticulous attention to detail and organizational abilities

  • Displays initiative and works independently to solve problems in an efficient and effective manner

  • Excellent interpersonal skills and ability to interface with a wide variety of stakeholders especially vulnerable and disadvantaged groups

  • Excellent written and oral communication skills

  • Highly proficient computer skills including MS Office Outlook, Word, and Excel

  • Spoken and written Spanish is a plus

  • Must be well organized, motivated, and detail-oriented

  • Ability to multi-task, prioritize and meet deadlines

  • Ability to work in a team setting and have the ability to work independently when projects are due


Targeted start date is October 1, 2018.

Environmental Defense Fund is an equal opportunity employer where an applicant's qualifications are considered without regard to race, color, religion, sex, national origin, age, disability, veteran status, genetic information, sexual orientation, gender identity or expression, or any other basis prohibited by law.