Our Mission

The WATER Institute develops innovative science-based solutions for communities and the environment to address the legacy of hydrologically destructive land-use practices and policies on California’s watersheds, and the urgent need to address the impacts of climate change on the water cycle.

About the WATER Institute >

“The water cycle
and the life cycle
are one”
Jacques Cousteau

Water News

potable water

Water Budgeting at OAEC and in Your Community

Above: Alana records weekly potable water use at OAEC outside the Main Office, which all staff members see throughout the… Read More >


WATER Institute Reviews Beaver Restoration Guidebook

The WATER Institute was invited to review the 200-page comprehensive Beaver Restoration Guidebook written by NOAA Fisheries, US Fish and… Read More >

cracked earth

Drought Action

These are extraordinary times in California–especially in the Dutch Bill Creek Watershed, where OAEC is located, and the watersheds surrounding… Read More >

Bring Back the Beaver

In order to improve water supply for humans and the environment and increase resilience to drought and climate change, the WATER Institute is working to integrate beaver management into California policy and regulation.

Bring Back the Beaver Campaign >

The WATER Institute can help you protect your watershed:


“Just as water is the foundation of life, it must also be the foundation of design in the built environment.”
Betsy Damon (Keeper of the Waters)

Community resilience depends on healthy relationships with our watersheds. Through a practice we call "Conservation Hydrology," you can create and install water management systems that restore and protect watersheds. Learn about our Conservation Hydrology demonstration site for design inspiration!

Projects & Collaborations


“If you're not part of the solution, you're part of the precipitate.”
Steven Wright

The WATER Institute supports students, landowners, watershed advocates, land managers, land-use professionals agency staff and policy makers to become water-literate environmental stewards. You too can increase your community's watershed literacy by drawing from our many resources.

WATER Publications


“Fix it in your constitution that no corporation, no body of men, no capital can get possession and right to your waters. Hold the waters in the hands of the people.”
John Wesley Powell 1890 North Dakota Constitutional Convention

Brock Dolman in a salmon suit testifying to the Sonoma County Board of Supervisors on behalf of Totem Salmon. Read his speech.

We are perched on the tipping point of a "watershed moment." Considering the importance of water, we all need to be involved in the politics of water resources.

Lasting change ultimately occurs in the arenas of politics and democratic decision-making. Learn how the WATER Institute is changing the rules through our Bring Back the Beaver Campaign and agricultural water work.

Bring Back the Beaver