Featured Speakers


Our highlighted speakers include


Opening Keynote, Thursday, April 4

Joaquin Esquivel 
Chair of the California State Water Resources Control Board  

Board Member Esquivel will open the conference with a tone of optimism and problem solving as he shares his thoughts on the pressing water policy issues facing California.
Lunch Speaker, Thursday, April 4

Mark Arax  Author

Mark Arax will be discussing his newest book, The Dreamt Land: Chasing Water and Dust Across California. Mark is from a family of Central Valley farmers, a writer with deep ties to the land who has watched the battles over water intensify even as California lurches from drought to flood and back again. In The Dreamt Land, he travels the state to explore the one-of-a-kind distribution system, built in the 1940s, '50s and '60s, that is straining to keep up with California's relentless growth. Mark is an author and journalist whose writings on California and the West have received numerous awards for literary nonfiction. A former staffer at the Los Angeles Times, his work has appeared in The New York Times and the California Sunday Magazine. His books include a memoir of his father's murder, a collection of essays about the West and the best-selling The King of California, which won a California Book Award, the William Saroyan Prize from Stanford University, and was named a top book of 2004 by the Los Angeles Times and the San Francisco Chronicle. He lives in Fresno, California.

Opening Keynote, Friday, April 5

Brenda Burman, Commissioner, Bureau of Reclamation

Brenda Burman has 25 years of experience working on western issues, with an emphasis on water and natural resources, She previously served in the Department of the Interior as Reclamation's Deputy Commissioner for External and Intergovernmental Affairs and as Interior's Deputy Assistant Secretary for Water and Science. Her career spans experience in Congress as legislative counsel for water and energy for Senator Jon Kyl to state agencies, including The Metropolitan Water District of Southern California, and most recently, the Salt River Project in Arizona.