California Water Policy conference sponsored by… the usual corporate suspects

  • Published on September 7th, 2017

The Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) will holds its “Priorities for California’s Water” conference in Sacramento on Thursday, October 26, 2017, from 9:00 a.m. to 12:30 p.m. at the Sheraton Grand Hotel, 1230 J Street, Magnolia and Camellia rooms, Sacramento, CA.

Public Policy Institute of California (PPIC) will holds its “Priorities for California’s Water” conferenceBy Dan Bacher

“This past year was a prime example of California’s highly variable climate—and a precursor of the challenges to come,” the annoucement for the event states. “This conference looks at issues that are front and center for managing California’s water supply and natural environment, including legislative priorities for cities, farms, and rural communities; partnerships for healthy ecosystems; and critical decisions for the Colorado River and Sacramento–San Joaquin Delta.”

The invitation urges people to “Join PPIC Water Policy Center researchers and a diverse group of experts for a thought-provoking discussion about policy priorities for the coming water year.”

The “diverse” group of experts are mostly representatives of water agencies, corporate agribusiness interests, PPIC staff and government officials, the same folks who are pushing the Delta Tunnels, the most environmentally destructive public works project in California history.  No representatives of California Indian Tribes, recreational angling groups, commercial fishing organizations, family farming groups or grassroots environmental NGOS are scheduled to speak.

There is only one member of the panel, Laurel Firestone of the Community Water Center, who does work regarding environmental justice and water. Sorry, but this is hardly a “diverse” group of “experts.”

Likewise, the list of sponsors is a “who’s who“ of Big Ag and corporate regulatory capture in California, including Driscoll’s, known for their repression of indigenous farmworkers in Baja California; and Wonderful Orchards, owned by Beverly Hills Big Ag tycoons Stewart and Lynda Resnick.

Other sponsors include the Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, the most prominent supporter of the California WaterFix ; the Pisces Foundation, the organization set up by the Fisher Family, the owners of the Gap, Mendocino Redwood Company and Humboldt Redwood Company; the Walton Family Foundation, the organization set up by the owners and founders of Walmart; and the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation (yes, that Bechtel!)


Lewis Bair, general manager, Reclamation District No. 108
Caitrin Chappelle, associate center director, PPIC Water Policy Center
Grant Davis, director, California Department of Water Resources
Laurel Firestone, cofounder and codirector, Community Water Center
Brian Gray, senior fellow, PPIC Water Policy Center
Ellen Hanak, center director, PPIC Water Policy Center
Ann Hayden, senior director of California habitat exchange and western water, Environmental Defense Fund
Jeffrey Kightlinger, general manager, Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Jeff Mount, senior fellow, PPIC Water Policy Center
Ric Ortega, general manager, Grassland Water District
Dave Puglia, executive vice president, Western Growers
Lester Snow, senior advisor, Water Foundation
Cindy Tuck, deputy executive director for government relations, Association of California Water Agencies


Association of California Water Agencies
California American Water Company
California Trout
California Water Service
The Dirk and Charlene Kabcenell Foundation
Environmental Defense Fund
Golden State Water Company
Metropolitan Water District of Southern California
Mojave Water Agency
Morgan Family Foundation
The Nature Conservancy
Northern California Water Association
Pisces Foundation
Rosenberg Ach Foundation
S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
The San Diego Foundation
San Francisco Public Utilities Commission
Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority
Sonoma County Water Agency
The Walton Family Foundation
Water Foundation
Western Growers
Wonderful Orchards

The PPIC announcement states: “Please register in advance. There is no charge to attend, but space is limited. Breakfast and lunch will be provided.”


Hannah Noonan
(415) 291-4458

About the Author

Dan Bacher is an environmental journalist in Sacramento who focuses on California's water issues, a healthy environment for the salmon fishery of the Northwest, and the attempts by big agriculture and big oil to hog all the water.
  • Paul R. Jones

    U.S./Californian citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” residing on land commonly known as an “Indian reservations” are merely tenants with rights of ‘use and occupancy’ only according to federal documents readily available on-line. Ergo, these ‘tenants’ have no say whatsoever regarding natural resources including water-ground or flowing water-on land owned by the People of the United States.
    Secondly, as of the Indian Citizenship Act of 1924, there are no more “Indians” within the original meaning of the Constitution…only U.S./California citizens with “Indian ancestry/race” entitled to no more and no less than every other non-Indian U.S./California citizen. And, there is no such thing under the Constitution as an “Indian reservation!”

    • Dude, every single thing you’ve said is wrong. I suggest you start by looking at the Wikipedia page for “Indian Reservation.” And then read a lot more from reputable sources.