DTW Water Justice Fund

Help Ensure Resources are There for Your Next Water Judge

Dividing the Waters has worked for more than 20 years to provide the education and information resources that judges need to adjudicate complex water conflicts. It has achieved wide recognition for its leadership in helping adjudicators address the most difficult water issues in science and the law.

Over the years, Dividing the Waters has received financial support from a series of charitable foundations beginning with the Ford Foundation, which sponsored its creation, and later, the Hewlett Foundation. In the last four years, the S.D. Bechtel, Jr. Foundation – Stephen Bechtel Fund provided funding to address the Program’s existing needs and set a course for Program sustainability into the future. These foundations have provided the funding that ensured that these resources remained available for all water judges, whether they are experienced in water right adjudications or just received the first water case of their careers. Since the great recession however, foundation funding has declined for a number of reasons.

In a time of transition in funding far from its roots as a foundation-funded education startup, Dividing the Waters has become a necessary part of the governmental infrastructure to resolve water conflicts. It has given judges the resources they need to complete comprehensive water right adjudications, such as the Snake River Basin Adjudication, as well resolve local water conflicts about water diversions and instream flow. While the Program started as a forum for experienced water adjudication judges, many water judges today have little experience in water, and may come from the criminal bar. These new water judges need Dividing the Waters’ training and resources the most. Tight judicial branch budgets, however, may not support such a narrowly-focused education effort for judges. Judicial education budgets need to address what judges do most — criminal law. That’s where the Water Justice Fund can play a critical role in the future of water adjudication.

About The Water Justice Fund

The National Judicial College, a 501(c)(3) organization, created the Water Justice Fund to fill the funding gap for judicial education on water, which foundations and government budgets cannot support. The Fund ensures that the resources that the Program has developed over the last two decades remain available to judges with water cases, especially those judges who are new to water conflicts. It funds the conferences, workshops and publications that judges need to resolve the West’s most complex natural resource conflicts. Whether it’s a webinar on the fundamentals of water rights or a conference addressing the interaction between land and water management, the Fund is there to ensure the speakers and the judges can afford to participate in the conference. It pays for the development and printing of Dividing the Waters publications. Perhaps most importantly, the Fund pays for the development of the resources that keep the network of water judges intact, like the monthly Network Note publication.

Water Justice Fund Giving Levels

$1,000 – $4,999 The Stream Keepers
$5,000 – $9,999 The Guardians of the River
$10,000 – $14,999 The Advocates for the Aquifer
$15,000 – $20,000 The Stewards of the Watershed
$20,000 and above The Watermaster

Water Justice Fund Donors

The Watermaster
  • California Department of Water Resources
The Guardians of the River
  • Best, Best & Krieger
  • Draper & Draper LLC
  • Parsons Behle & Latimer
  • Somach, Simmons & Dunn
The Stream Keepers
  • Givens Pursley LLP
  • Christopher H. Meyer
  • Modrall, Sperling, Roehl, Harris & Sisk, P.A.
  • Oregon Water Resources Department
  • Parsons Behle & Latimer
  • Ryley Carlock & Applewhite
  • Van Ness Feldman (Terese Richmond)
  • Welborn, Sullivan, Meck & Tooley
  • White & Jankowski
  • Woodburn & Wedge

Water Justice Fund donors receive the following recognition for participating:

  • Listing on the Dividing the Waters Water Justice Fund section of our website
  • Featured placement in The National Judicial College’s annual publication, Case In Point, which is sent to more than 20,000 judges, attorneys, donors and supporters
  • Subscription to DTW’s monthly Network Note
  • Annual report and progress updates

Donor Information

In order to comply with the rules for judicial conduct, the judges and donors remain separate. The judges cannot receive funding directly or direct how the funding can be spent. The Water Justice Fund therefore imposes the following rules to ensure compliance with ethics rules for judges:

  1. A donor may give only to the Fund for general purposes and may not direct how the funding be used or which judges participate.
  2. The leadership at The National Judicial College, including the Executive Director of Dividing the Waters, decides how the Water Justice Fund contributions are spent.
  3. The names of participating judges remain confidential, unless the judge consents to public disclosure of their participation, as do the judges who agree to be profiled in the monthly Network Note.

To learn more about the Water Justice Fund, contact Steve Snyder Dividing the Waters part-time Executive Director, at (916) 529-2837 or sesnyder@q.com.