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California Policy Forum Webinar | Drought, Water and the Economy: What We All Need to Know!

Wednesday, August 10, 2016 -
11:00am to 12:00pm PDT
Online Webinar
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We still have a drought! Water scarcity continues to affect the entire state from agricultural regions to urban centers.  As this unprecedented drought continues, the legacy of variable rainfall will impact the state for some time to come.

But it’s not affecting all communities in the same way, especially when it comes to water management, access to water or the impact of water scarcity on employment and the local economy. The inequities become quickly apparent as you begin to scratch the surface of these issues which are having enormous consequences for the communities oftentimes are most vulnerable.

Come Join Us

During this interactive webinar you'll learn about:

  • Current state of the California drought
  • Priorities for improve water management and water resiliency
  • Impact on communities across the state and particularly marginalized and poor communities.
  • Opportunities for nonprofits and philanthropy to improve resiliency, promote innovation and take action!

Target Audience

This program is free and open to current SCG, NCG, SDG and CalNonprofits members.


  • Joya Banerjee, Program Officer, S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation
  • Debbie Davis-Franco, Community and Rural Affairs Advisor & Local Drought Liaison, Governor's Office of Planning and Research
  • Alvar Escriva-Bou , Research Fellow, PPIC Water Policy Center
  • Laurel Firestone, Co-Executive Director, Co-Founder, & Attorney at Law, Community Water Center

The California Policy Forum is a series of webinars presented in partnership with CalNonprofits , Philanthropy California (a collaboration between Northern California Grantmakers, San Diego Grantmakers and Southern California Grantmakers), and the  League of California Community Foundations.

Speaker Bios

Debbie Davis-Franco
Community and Rural Affairs Advisor & Local Drought Liaison, Governor's Office of Planning and Research

Debbie  works on a range of issues including environmental justice, water, water and energy, and rural community issues. Prior to joining OPR, Debbie served as the Policy Director at the Environmental Justice Coalition for Water. Debbie has a Bachelor’s Degree from UC Davis and a Master’s Degree in Social Ecology from UC Irvine.

Alvar Escriva-Bou
Research Fellow , PPIC Water Policy Center

Alvar’s research explores integrated water, energy, and environmental resources management, including systems approaches, simulation and optimization of economic-engineering models, and climate change analysis. Previously, he worked as a civil engineer, managing and developing large infrastructure projects for local and regional governments and consulting firms in Spain.

He holds a PhD and MS in water and environmental engineering and a BS in civil engineering from the Polytechnic University of Valencia in Spain, as well as an MS in agricultural and resource economics from the University of California, Davis.

Laurel Firestone
Co-Executive Director, Co-Founder, & Attorney at Law, Community Water Center

Laurel Firestone co-founded and co-directs the Community Water Center (CWC), a non-profit environmental justice organization based in California’s Central Valley.  The CWC helps disadvantaged communities gain access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water.  In January 2016, she was listed as one of nine most influential people in California water policy by Environment & Energy Publishing. Laurel previously served as the Director of the Rural Poverty Water Project at the Center for Race, Poverty, & the Environment under a 2004‐06 Equal Justice Works Fellowship. Laurel was awarded the Gary Bellow Public Service Award by the Harvard Law School in 2013, and in 2010 she and her Co-Executive Director, Susana De Anda, were co-awarded the Carla Bard Advocacy Award from the Public Officials for Water and Environmental Reform (POWER). Laurel served on the Tulare County Water Commission from 2007‐12, and Co‐Chaired the Governor’s Drinking Water Stakeholder Group from 2012‐14. Laurel graduated with honors from Harvard Law School and holds a B.A. magna cum laude in Environmental Studies from Brown University. In 2009, Laurel authored the comprehensive Guide to Community Drinking Water Advocacy.

Joya Banerjee (Moderator)
Program Officer, S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation

Joya joined the S. D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation in 2009, and she is a Program Officer in the Environment Program. Joya leads the Foundation’s Water portfolio, which advances the integrated management of California’s water resources. Prior to joining the Foundation, Joya was an attorney at Latham & Watkins and worked for the City of New York, first with the Mayor’s Office of Operations and later with the Economic Development Division of the Law Department. Joya graduated from the University of Southern California with a Bachelor of Science degree in Business Administration, and she received a Juris Doctor degree from Columbia Law School, where she was senior articles editor for the Columbia Journal of Environmental Law. 

Special Thanks to SMART GROWTH CALIFORNIA for additional outreach!