Antioch, Calif. – January 4, 2019 – Antioch City Council Member Lamar Thorpe has been selected as a 2019 UnTapped Water Policy Academy Fellow by Water Education for Latino Leaders (WELL), a collaborative of Latino state water experts and community organizers focused on educating elected leaders on California’s most pressing water issues. UnTapped is a selective six-month program for local elected leaders aimed at engaging them in a comprehensive, geopolitical and economic exploitation of California water history, governance and public policy.
Since being elected to the Antioch City Council in 2016, Thorpe has been a staunch defender of the city’s unique water rights, which allow it to pump fresh water out of the Delta. In 2017, Thorpe supported two city lawsuits aimed at blocking the Delta Tunnels. He currently serves as the council’s representative to the East County Water Management Association (ECWMA).
“WELL is honored to welcome Council Member Thorpe, the first elected leader from East Contra Costa County, to our cohort of fellows,” said Victor Griego, founder of WELL UnTapped. “With pre-1914 water rights, Delta water quality challenges, construction of a new $60 million water desalination plant, and the state’s proposed $17 billion WaterFix project, the City of Antioch is located at the heart of critical, historic water policy decisions. The skills and knowledge Council Member Thorpe will gain as an UnTapped Fellow will be of immediate benefit to residents of Antioch and East Contra Costa County.”
Founded in 2012, WELL includes some of the most respected water experts in California. According to the group, however, Latinos represent nearly 40 percent of California’s population but only account for 2 percent of elected water officials and water policy professionals. The group’s goal is to enhance the water policy and management arena by opening it up to both individuals who represent large segments of Latino communities and/or identify as Latino themselves.
“Since being elected to the Antioch City Council, I’ve taken water policy very seriously and fought to remove Antioch from the quagmire of California water politics and the threat of drought,” said Thorpe. “I’m honored WELL recognizes my contributions to the City of Antioch, and I’m excited to delve into the complex world of California water politics and learn how it impacts our city and region.”