Water Leadership Institute Seeks to Cultivate Community Water Leaders in the Delta Mendota Subbasin

Amid growing water supply and quality concerns, program develops leadership skills for equitable water solutions in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera and Fresno counties.

January 24, 2024
Avalon Fajardo-Anstine, afajardoanstine@edf.org

(SACRAMENTO, CA – January 24, 2024) Environmental Defense Fund and Rural Community Assistance Corporation are accepting 2024 Water Leadership Institute applications for communities in the Delta Mendota Subbasin, including Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera and Fresno counties. The Institute will run from March 9 to June 12, with four in-person Saturday sessions. Participants will gain skills and knowledge to make informed, innovative, and equitable water decisions in communities facing mounting water issues, including groundwater decline and worsening flood, drought, and water quality risks.

The Institute helps underrepresented and disadvantaged communities engage in effective local groundwater management and water decision-making. Such community participation is critical as groundwater-dependent regions of California are finalizing plans to manage their groundwater supplies more sustainably.

“The Delta Mendota Subbasin is on the frontlines of California’s growing water crises,” said Mariana Rivera-Torres, co-director of the Institute and water systems manager at the Environmental Defense Fund. “Community leaders in the basin are the experts—they live with the water challenges; they understand the issues and yet their perspectives are often missing from water decisions. The Water Leadership Institute seeks to change that dynamic and help elevate community experts into relevant decision-making processes.”

Through a series of four monthly free bilingual training sessions starting in March, the Institute will help participants build leadership skills and capacity to more effectively engage in water decision-making and develop equitable solutions. Participants will study local history and vision, water laws and management, leadership styles, strategic planning, and communication and storytelling.

“I invite all rural communities to sign up, to come learn about our water challenges and work together on the issues so we can support one another in the fight to ensure we always have safe, clean, and affordable water,” said Sandra Garcia, a graduate of the 2022 edition of the Institute.

The 2024 Water Leadership Institute will feature four in-person Saturday sessions from March 9 to June 12.  Water management or leadership experience is not required, just a commitment to participate fully in all the sessions and a strong motivation to serve the community. Locals in the Delta Mendota Subbasin are encouraged to attend, including but not limited to rural or small communities in Sacramento, San Joaquin, Stanislaus, Merced, Madera and Fresno counties.

Residents, community leaders, water managers and other stakeholders interested in attending the Water Leadership Institute must apply by February 15, 2024, at www.edf.org/waterleadership.


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