Water and Drought Solutions Learning Lab


Various Southern California water associations, water districts and other water related entities are waking up to the fact that the public generally perceives messages about the drought and higher water rates in contradictory terms, producing doubts in the public about the drought declarations overall.

One survey in the San Gabriel Valley found that 42% of water utilities surveyed were facing challenges in communicating with their customers. Another 25% indicated that communicating about water rate increases was their greatest challenge.

The Water and Drought Learning Lab will involve a real water agency, which is working on a drought related communications/outreach plan. Our plans are to hold the Learning Lab the latter part of September 2014, which will be held in the San Gabriel Valley.

How do I participate?

There are two ways to participate in the Water and Drought Solutions Learning Lab: either as a Working Partner or as a Participating Water Entity. 

Benefits of being a Working Partner:

  • Access to a seasoned professional in developing proven models of active community engagement
  • Designated staff will participate in strategic sessions in understanding your market base, learning about the true shift in demographics and effective modes of messaging
  • Hands on involvement in developing every aspect of the program, defining desired outcomes and determining the scope of the field activities (the planning will occur during a two month process)
  • Increased awareness of roles and responsibilities by partners’ team in dealing with the public

Benefits of being a Water Entity Participant:

  • Participation in interactive learning sessions
  • Access to a group of professionals who share similar responsibilities and duties providing valuable networking opportunities
  • You will be interfacing with members of the public, similar to those that you serve
  • First hand experience in understating critical components of a successful communications outreach plan

Who should apply?  

Water districts, water suppliers, outreach managers for water districts, retail water suppliers, municipal departments, public works, water companies and other related entities 

What are the components of the Solutions Learning Lab?

  • Overview of water and drought situation
  • Review and analysis of an existing outreach/communications plan
  • Three Lab groups will be assigned specific field test guides and locations
  • Report back to the whole group about field experience and lessons learned
  • Modification of plan by each Lab group based on field findings
  • Evaluation of modified plan by panel of residents 

Capacity Limits: 

The Lab consists of one water agency and that agency partner will determine the staff who will work with Mujeres de la Tierra to develop the program and activities for the Lab.  

In order to provide meaningful participation, only 15 water related entities will be invited to join the Water and Drought Solutions Lab. Each selected water group is required to send two representatives (capacity is limited to 30 participants total) who meet the following applicant criteria:

  • Participants must be professionally involved in public outreach
  • Or be a civic leader such as a water district director
  • Or be a city councilperson with a committee assignment overseeing public outreach and engagement  

How to apply to be a Working Partner:           

Mujeres de La Tierra is accepting applications from water districts and other water related entities wishing to evaluate and enhance their communications/outreach plan.  Plans will be selected on the basis of demographic depth, demonstrated creativity in outreach goals, leadership supervision, and timing.

To be considered, please: 

  1. Click on the Working Partner Application tab above and complete the online application
  2. Submit a copy of your outreach plan to: rita.davila@mujeresdelatierra.org 
  3. Upon selection, return a release form authorizing a selection committee to review the contents of your plan 
  4. Agreement for an interview with the executive responsible for the outreach plan execution as well as a member of the governing board
  5. Agreement to fund a grant for the Solutions Learning Lab session

How to apply to be a Participating Water Entity:

  1. Click on the Participating Water Entity Application tab above and complete the online application
  2. Submit a copy of your outreach plan to: rita.davila@mujeresdelatierra.org 

For further information you may email:

All information provided to Mujeres de la Tierra will be held in strictest confidence and will not used for any purpose other than for Water and Drought Solutions Lab purposes. 


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