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


Compost Toilet Research Project Launches!!!

Click here to watch the video! We are thrilled to announce the launch of OAEC’s first ever crowdfunding campaign! Help… Read More >


OAEC Receives Groundbreaking Compost Toilet Permit

Legitimizing Ecological Sanitation via Scientific Research After 2 years of negotiations, OAEC is excited to partner with county and regional agencies… Read More >


Sonoma County Beaver Blitz – October 8th, 2016 (9AM – 5PM)

The OAEC WATER Institute is hosting a Beaver Blitz to map current distribution of beaver (Castor canadensis) in Sonoma County.… 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, Compost Toilet Research Project, Decentralized Water Policy Council and agricultural water work.

Bring Back the Beaver   Compost Toilet Research Project