Center for Water Studies

The fourth annual Women in Water Symposium will take place in March 2021 with a new approach developed as a result of the coronavirus pandemic.  The symposium will take place virtually each Thursday in March. Registration is $25, free for students, and is open now.


This year’s conference theme is “Flow With The Change.” Three specific career levels tracks are offered to address needs at each level: entry level for those new to water careers; mid-career for those transitioning and advancing within the industry; and upper level, for senior professionals looking to leave a legacy.


Conference topics include negotiation skills; diversity, equity, and inclusion; dealing with change; the impact of COVID-19; and building a sustainable career. Program elements for all tracks are designed to create a larger community of people with the interest and aptitude to take on what were previously considered non-traditional careers.


Attendees in 2020 offered positive feedback about their experience. “The Women in Water Symposium made it possible for me, as a young graduate student, to meet experienced, female engineers at any moment--from breakfast to sessions and everything in between,” said Alma Rocha, a San Diego State University graduate student pursuing her environmental engineering degree.


California Water Environmental Association spokesperson Alec Mackie said, “I got to meet so many amazing people and help them out with referrals to jobs and events that might help their career. A very rewarding event.”


Vanessa Murrell, Foundation for Grossmont and Cuyamaca Colleges grant manager, said the conference is open to anyone, and this year is not limited by location by being held in a virtual environment.


Nurturing the next generation of water professionals

The Water Authority and its 24 member agencies have created a regional workforce development task force to address the ‘Silver Tsunami’ of experienced employees reaching retirement age. The task force reports approximately 4,500 water and wastewater positions in the San Diego region. More than 1,400 of those workers are expected to reach retirement age by 2024. Water and wastewater treatment plant operators in California earn an annual mean wage of more than $72,000, according to the U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics.


Registration is $25 general admission, and free to students. Attendees only need to register once for all sessions. Participants can attend any session from all three tracks. For more information about the symposium and Cuyamaca College’s Center for Water Studies, go to