The Water Solutions Network’s inaugural cohort went on a site visit to Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River in central California on June 6, 2018.

The Water Solutions Network’s inaugural cohort went on a site visit to Friant Dam on the San Joaquin River in central California on June 6, 2018.

Water Solutions Network Participant Profile: Requirements and Criteria

Time Commitment

Participants must be able to attend every 2020 session, in person, in its entirety:

Session 1: March 24-26

Session 2: April 22-April 24

Session 3: May 27-29

Session 4: June 24-26

Session 5: Sept. 23-25

Session 6: Oct. 28-30

Participants should intend to work in water management or closely related fields in California during the entire program and to stay connected with the Water Solutions Network for the foreseeable future.  

This next cohort will focus on two regions and candidates for this cohort are expected to be working in the following watersheds:

  • Lower Klamath River Basin - including the West Section of the Upper Klamath sub-basin. It includes the Shasta, Scott, Lower Klamath, Salmon, Trinity, South Fork Trinity, and upper Klamath West sub-basins flowing through the California counties of Trinity, Humboldt and Del Norte. 

  • Colorado River Basin serving San Diego County, Imperial Valley, Coachella Valley, Blythe, and the Salton Sea


Participants will have achieved notable successes in their careers and be ready to tackle the next set of water challenges and/or to expand the scale of their impact.

Participants will be leaders expected to be in a position of influence in water management or closely related fields over the next 5 to 10 years.

Issue Area and Sector

Participants will demonstrate a solid policy and technical foundation and a track record of success working in one or more of the following issue areas:

  • Working lands such as agriculture and forest management

  • Water, wastewater, and flood management

  • Water quality

  • Water efficiency and conservation

  • Environment and habitat restoration

  • Related issue areas such as public health or infrastructure will also be considered

Participants will be drawn from multiple sectors related to water management, including:

  • Government, including local, state, and federal agencies, utilities, and irrigation districts

  • Nonprofit, including environmental and environmental justice groups

  • Private sector, including agriculture and working lands

  • Academic institutions and research organizations with interests in applied science and policy

Individual characteristics

Participants in the Water Solutions Network are expected to model five characteristics that are essential to the future of water management in California. These characteristics are described below; each is accompanied by questions candidates should ask themselves in considering application to the Network.

Ideal candidates have a commitment to driving transformational change across our water systems through:

  • Activating a systems-based approach to water management

  • Working collaboratively to generate and implement solutions

  • Pursuing an equitable water future for all Californians and the environment

  • Focusing on impact and achieving meaningful, lasting results

  • Learning and encouraging innovation in water management policy and practice

Systems thinking: The ability to take a comprehensive view of California water management; understand the multiple, interdependent, factors that influence decision-making; and advance integrated solutions that can achieve meaningful and lasting progress.

Do I have…

  • Fundamental knowledge of water management policy and practice today?

  • Experience with holistic approaches affecting an entire watershed or water basin?

Collaboration: The ability to bring together decision-makers and organizations across disciplines, sectors, and ideologies; to synthesize information and perspectives from multiple sources; and to develop coalitions and partnerships needed to address complex water management challenges.

Do I have…

  • A network mindset and aptitude for developing relationships?

  • Desire to include divergent voices and recognize the interests of all stakeholders?

Equity: The ability to design and implement solutions that are inherently fair and serve the needs of all stakeholders; to make decisions that advance racial and economic equity and social justice; and to promote solutions that will nurture resilient communities as well as enhance environmental quality.

Do I have…

  • Empathy and genuine concern for the wellbeing of others?

  • Desire to communicate effectively with diverse groups of stakeholders?

Impact: The ability to achieve meaningful, lasting results in an era characterized by both ideological and weather extremes; to act with courage in pursuit of transformative solutions; and to manage conflict and concerns that are likely to accompany significant change.

Do I have…

  • Belief in my ability to positively influence California’s water future?

  • A sense of purpose and urgency that motivates me in the face of adversity?

Learning: The ability to continually assimilate information and gain new levels of understanding; to display curiosity and embrace creativity; and to be open to ideas that depart from the status quo.

Do I have…

  • Willingness to challenge my own beliefs and assumptions?

  • A style that encourages innovation?

The deadline to apply for Cohort 2 is Nov. 8, 2019.