Leadership Development

2019 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute

The 2019 Rural Communities Water Managers Leadership Institute will consist of trainings, workshops, and an educational tour focused on building and maintaining long-term water management expertise in rural communities. The six-month program will focus on topics including, but not limited to:

  • Local and Regional Community Water Uses, Challenges, and Solutions
  • California Water Management and Planning Programs including, Water Management Agencies, Laws and Regulations
  • Effective Community Participation in Water Management and Planning
  • Available Funding and Financing
  • Educational Water Tour
  • Sustaining Community Participation in Water Management and Planning, Building Community Networks and Recruiting/Building New Community Leaders

The application period for the 2019 Leadership Institute has closed. Please check back for more leadership development opportunities in the future.


Schedule: March 2019 – August 2019 (sessions will be held one Saturday per month)

Session 1: March 2019

Topics: Orientation and Introductions, Water Conditions in California, Introduction to Water Management and Planning programs, and Community Participation


The 2019 Leadership Institute kicked off on Saturday, March 23 at the Self-Help Enterprises office. Participants took part in a variety of activities and workshops that covered topics including water conditions in the Central Valley, an introduction to water management and planning programs, and community participation in regional water management programs.

During the first workshop, Water Conditions in the Central Valley, participants were given a brief overview of the water cycle and historical issues in the Central Valley as well as the issues that affect communities, agriculture and the environment during drought or flooding periods. Participants were encouraged to think about and discuss the issues that were present in their community, had affected their community in the past, and which could be issues in the future. In small groups, participants analyzed specific issues and presented potential causes and solutions for that issue.

The second workshop, Introduction to Water Management and Planning Programs, provided information about the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA), Integrated Regional Water Management (IRWM) program, and other programs such as Storm Water Resources Plans and Countywide Drought and Water Shortage Contingency Plans. In the next session of the Leadership Institute, participants will receive in depth information about the components of each program and ways to get involved.

In the third workshop, three water leaders shared their experience participating in water management programs, like SGMA and IRWM, and the importance of having disadvantaged communities participate in these programs. Participants then reflected on their vision for their own community and started to build plans on how water management programs could help in achieving some of those goals. In future sessions, participants will return to their plans and build on them as they learn more about water management programs.

In total, 16 participants from 9 different disadvantaged communities participated in the first session of the Institute. Participants will meet again for session two on April 27 to discuss roles and responsibilities of agencies and other water interests in water management and the political dimensions of water management and planning programs as well as receive more information about water management programs and how the programs can help their communities.

Session 2: April 2019

Topics: State Water Management-California Water Laws and Regulations, Understanding Stakeholder Interests and Political Dimensions of Water Management, and Water Management and Planning Programs

Session 3: May 2019

Topics: What to Expect at Meetings, How to Prepare for and Participate in Meetings, Working with Other Communities, and Presenting Information to Your Community/Board

Session 4: June 2019

Topics: Funding Programs and Requirements, Site Visit/Case Studies of IRWM Funded Project, Project Development and Working with Engineers and Consultants

Session 5: July 2019

Topics: Water Sources, Uses, and Users Water Tour – Stops to include: community water system, recharge basin, treatment plant, dairy or farm among others

Session 6: August 2019

Topics: Sustaining Participation, Getting Involved in the Legislative Process and Policy Development, Additional Community Resources, and Graduation!



This Leadership Institute is offered for free to interested participants. Funding for the Institute is provided by the Central Valley Community Foundation and the United States Department of Agriculture. Additional funding for this project has been provided from the Water Quality, Supply, and Infrastructure Improvement Act of 2014 and through an agreement with the State Department of Water Resources. 



Leadership Development Impact

The issues facing rural disadvantaged communities San Joaquin Valley counties are complex and multifaceted.  Such communities often lack human capacity to effectively lead their communities through issues they face – usually due to lack of training, not lack of heart.

Because it takes leaders from all aspects of the community to effect change that makes a positive impact in neighborhoods, Self-Help Enterprises hosts the Joaquin Valley Rural Community Leadership Institute to address a broad range of community issues. This training experience can sharpen community leaders’ abilities, and provide the tools and techniques to become effective leaders to improve their communities.

The Institute is intended to provide residents from communities throughout the San Joaquin Valley with training sessions that include conflict management and effective communication skills. Workshops also provide guidance on how to manage change and guide their communities through those changes, budgeting, public relations, community resource development and building other skills.

Similarly, Self-Help Enterprises community development staff provide critical technical assistance to local communities, linking the community’s water and sewer needs to funding and technical resources. At the core of this effort is the empowerment of residents to take control of the development of their own community infrastructure needs. Self-Help Enterprises staff support community groups and Boards in forming Districts in assessing the community’s needs to apply for and administer government loans/grants for project financing.

Self-Help Enterprises’ commitment to providing resources and training for individuals builds the capacity for highly effective leadership in communities and at the same time promotes collaborative solutions for improving communities.

“The leadership institute training arms you with the tools you need to stay the course and win.”
~ Denise Kadara,  Allensworth


Why should I consider becoming a leader in my community? 

Community leaders make a difference in our communities and play a pivotal role in helping improve the well-being of residents.

How does the community benefit from engaged residents?

Engaged residents identify community needs and enables communities to realize their vision for a vibrant, welcoming place for all to call home.

How does Self-Help Enterprises assist with the training of water and sewer boards?

Self-Help Enterprises works to educate residents about the roles and responsibilities of a board and set the ground work for boards to function effectively.

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If you are interested in information about future leadership development trainings, please complete the interest form. A Self-Help Enterprises staff member will contact you.

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