Leadership Institute Develops Water Management Knowledge & Expertise

Leadership Institute Develops Water Management Knowledge & Expertise

Posted on September 24, 2019

Residents of disadvantaged rural communities in California’s San Joaquin Valley often find it challenging to participate and effectively lead their communities in regards to water quality and quantity issues that they face. To help build leadership capacity and gain water management tools, Self-Help Enterprises’ Community Engagement and Planning team launched the first-of-its-kind 2019 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute for community water board members and staff, water leaders, and residents from rural communities.

The six-month Leadership Institute program, offered at no charge thanks to the generous support from the Central Valley Community Foundation, USDA Rural Development, and the State Department of Water Resources, took place from March through August 2019 with sessions held one Saturday per month. Through bilingual classroom instruction, group activities and a water tour, the Leadership Institute curriculum enhanced leadership skills, increased participants’ knowledge about water resources water management programs and prepared participants to engage in important groundwater management planning and implementation efforts taking place within their region. The Leadership Institute will also establish a cohort of participating communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley.

Thirteen residents from 10 disadvantaged communities in Fresno, Tulare, Kings, and Kern counties graduated the 2019 Leadership Institute. The graduates included water board members, supervisors of mutual water companies, members of advisory committees, and a manager for a resource conservation district. These varied backgrounds allowed participants to share water challenges and successes, resources, and build a supportive community. As Donna Clemons, Board member of the Armona Community Services District stated, “The information I have learned has broadened my knowledge of water matters. This will allow me to be a more informed board member of my water district [and] will assist in more informed decision making.”

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