The 2022 Leadership Institute

The 2022 Leadership Institute

Posted on October 31, 2022

The Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute, or Leadership Institute for short, is a six-month training program designed to build rural community leaders’ water management capacity and expertise. By the end of the program, participants will be fully prepared to engage in long-term water management throughout the San Joaquin Valley. This year was the fourth year that SHE offered the program and the first year that the program was hybrid, with half the program taking place virtually and the other half in person. 

The program consisted of 27 participants from 13 different communities throughout SHE’s service area, including participants from Tulare, Fresno, Madera, Merced, Mariposa, and Stanislaus counties.   

Topics covered during the sessions included:

  • Overviews of regional and State water management programs  
  • Water system basics  
  • Current water conditions and issues in the San Joaquin Valley  
  • Consensus building  
  • Preparing for and participating in meetings  
  • Learning from past water management

Throughout the program, various SHE staff presented workshops and information sessions. They also had multiple guest speakers who shared their expertise with the group. Speakers included: Ngodoo Atume from Clean Water Action, Stephanie Horii from the Consensus Building Institute, Professor Safeeq Khan from UC Merced, and Taylor Broadhead from Sustainable Conservation 

After two years of virtual sessions, they finally had three in-person sessions that allowed for more interactive activities, networking among participants, and opportunities to learn from each other, which has always been one of the biggest goals of the program. While virtual sessions allowed them to continue the program through the pandemic and share information with various participants, the in-person sessions brought a distinct dynamic and allowed for more relationships among community leaders to develop. 

The final session of the 2022 Leadership Institute took place on October 8, 2022, at the SHE office in Visalia. Participants learned about the legislative process, past watershed management from Professor Khan, and participated in a community assets workshop. They ended with a graduation ceremony where 12 participants received certificates and gifts to commemorate completing the program! 


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