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Mission Statement

The mission of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial non-profit organization, is to create a better understanding of water issues and help resolve water resource problems through educational programs.

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Click here for your copy of our 2007 Annual Report in PDF format.

Staff Biographies

Rita Schmidt Sudman is Executive Director of the Water Education Foundation, an impartial and nonprofit organization whose mission is to develop and implement education programs leading to a broader understanding of water issues and to resolution of water problems in the West. She directs the development of Western Water magazine, the Layperson's Guide series, the Foundation's Colorado River program, public television programs on water, poster maps, tours, press briefings and school programs. Ms. Sudman is a former radio and television reporter and producer and received her master's degree in telecommunications from San Diego State University. She has developed a television production team which has won two Emmys and several regional Emmy nominations for the Foundation's public television documentaries. She has served on numerous boards including the President's Advisory Commission on water for the University of California and the board of Water For People, an international program assisting people in developing countries to obtain safe drinking water. In 2003, she received the Lifetime Achievement Award from the Groundwater Resources Association of California in recognition of her efforts on groundwater education. In 2005, she received the Service to the Water Industry Award from the American Water Works Association (AWWA) the California-Nevada Section in recognition of her dedication to leading and educating drinking water professionals.

Sue McClurg is Program Director for the Water Education Foundation. She is the author of the Foundation's book, Water & the Shaping of California. After many years of writing the bimonthly magazine, Western Water, she now writes special publications, oversees grant projects and programs, and serves as the editor of Western Water. In addition, Sue is editor/writer of the Layperson's Guide series.

Prior to joining the Foundation in 1991, Sue worked as a newspaper reporter covering education, government and water issues for newspapers throughout the state, including The Los Angeles Daily News, Vacaville Reporter and Tulare Advance-Register. She received her bachelor's in journalism from California State University, Fresno.

Judy Maben is the Foundation's Education Director. Judy conducts teacher inservice workshops for the Foundation, develops and writes school programs and represents the Foundation with educators in California and around the nation. In addition, she serves as Tour Director of our water tours.

Before joining the foundation, Judy taught science classes for grades 6-12 for over twelve years. She has a B.A. in biological sciences and an M.A. in education from Stanford University.

Diana Farmer, Administrative Assistant, has worked for the Foundation since 1994. She is responsible for accounts receivable, handles all event registration, and supervises the Foundation's IT Administrator and the Foundation's orders department. She also assists with the major contributions campaign and personnel matters, and proofreads publications published by the Foundation.

Jean Nordmann Contributions Director, joined the Water Education Foundation in 2003. She is secretary to the Board of Directors and Executive Director Rita Schmidt Sudman. She also assists with the Foundation's major contributors' campaign and Water Leaders Program, and oversees logistics for Foundation tours and briefings. Previously, Jean worked for the Contra Costa County Municipal Risk Management Insurance Authority, the Town of Danville and Visa USA. She studied Court Reporting at Skyline College.

Beth Stern Development Director, joined the Water Education Foundation in February 2007. Previously she was a program officer at CaliforniaVolunteers (formerly California Service Corps) overseeing federal AmeriCorps grants to community-based education programs. Additionally, Beth served as a communications associate for the agency implementing a statewide marketing and outreach campaign to engage more Californians in volunteering. Beth holds a Bachelor's degree in English from San Francisco State University.

Gary Pitzer, Writer, joined the Foundation in January 2001 after a four-year stint covering water quality for the weekly newsletter Inside Cal/EPA, a national publication. Prior to that, he worked as a reporter for The Sacramento Bee/Neighbors section. Gary graduated California State University, Sacramento, with a bachelor's degree in history. At the Foundation, he writes articles for Western Water magazine and updates titles in the Layperson's Guide series.

Brian Brown, California Project WET Coordinator, joined the Water Education Foundation in 2004 after a 14-year career as a Naturalist, Lead Teacher, Intern Coordinator and Trail Engineer at Whiskeytown Environmental School near Redding and YMCA Camp Campbell Outdoor Science School in Boulder Creek. Brian graduated from Humboldt State University with a B.S. degree in Forestry and a B.A. degree in Social Sciences. Brian holds California Professional Clear Credentials in Multiple Subjects, Life Sciences and Social Sciences. In addition to Project WET, Brian also is a facilitator for Project Learning Tree, Project WILD, the BLM 'Burning Issues' fire education program, and has been a staff member with the Forestry Institute for Teachers since its inception.

Board of Directors

The Water Education Foundation is governed by a volunteer board of 30 members representing a broad cross-section of water, education, business, environmental and public interest communities. The board of directors meets quarterly.

President - William R. Mills, Groundwater Consulting Engineer
Vice President - Suzanne Redfern-West, Redfern Ranches
Secretary - Gary Weatherford, Weatherford & Taaffe
Treasurer - Donald Evenson, MWH

William R. Mills recently retired from the Orange County Water District (OCWD) where he served as General Manager from 1987 to 2002. Since retirement, he provides water resources consulting services to several water districts. Prior to his appointment at OCWD, Mr. Mills was a private consulting engineer between 1984 and 1987, specializing in water resources management. He is registered both as a professional engineer and geologist in California. He also serves as an elected member of the Yorba Linda Water District Board of Directors. Additionally, he serves on the board of directors of Todd Engineers. He has received several awards throughout his career, including the Distinguished Water Leader award by Association of California Water Agencies in 1992. Mr. Mills was recognized for his contribution to the field of wastewater reclamation by an interview published in the National Geographic, Special Edition, Water, in November 1993. He is a graduate geological engineer from the Colorado School of Mines. He also holds a Master of Science degree in Civil/Environmental engineering from Loyola University of Los Angeles.


  • John Algots, Fort Mojave Indian Tribe
  • Thaddeus L. Bettner, Glenn-Colusa Irrigation District
  • Celeste Cantú, Santa Ana Watershed Project Authority
  • Huali Chai, Law Office of Huali G. Chai
  • Dennis Diemer, East Bay Municipal Utility District
  • Daniel M. Dooley, University of California
  • Phil Dunn, EDAW INC
  • Harrison C. Dunning, The Bay Institute of San Francisco
  • Jim English, Black and Veatch
  • Charolette Fox, League of Women Voters
  • Kathy E. Freas, CH2M Hill
  • Edward G. "Jerry" Gladbach, Castaic Lake Water Agengy
  • David Guy, Yosemite Association
  • Katharine L. Jacobs, Arizona Water Institute
  • Jonas Minton, Planning and Conservation League
  • Scott A. Morris, Kronick, Moskovitz, Tiedemann & Girard
  • David Orth, Kings River Conservation District
  • Timothy Quinn, Association of California Water Agencies
  • Ronald B. Robie, Court of Appeal, 3rd Appellate District
  • Michael T. Savage, CDM
  • Anthony Saracino, The Nature Conservancy
  • Satoru "Sat" Tamaribuchi, The Irvine Company
  • John E. Thorson, California Public Utilities Commission
  • Linda Waade, MWD of Southern California
  • David L. Widell, Grassland Water District
  • Walter Yep, Walter Yep, Inc.

President Emeritus

William R. Gianelli
Henry J. Vaux, Jr.

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