Local recruitment: Community Solutions Manager

Community Water Center

Watsonville, CA, USA

Location: Based in Watsonville, CA, serving communities in the Central Coast. CWC believes our mission can be effectively advanced while being flexible in our approach to work style and location. All candidates for this position must be able to work in-person out of our Watsonville office at least two days per week and are expected to report in the office, attend public meetings, and/or conduct community outreach and advocacy more than two days a week if needed based on job responsibilities. 

Organization Description: The Community Water Center (CWC) acts as a catalyst for community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy in California. We seek to build and enhance leadership capacity and local community power around water issues, create a regional movement for water justice in the Central Coast and the San Joaquin Valley, and enable every community to access safe, clean, and affordable drinking water.    

The Center employs four primary strategies in order to accomplish our goals: 

  • Educate, organize, and build the capacity of low-income communities and communities of color to address local drinking water challenges.
  • Support low-income communities and communities of color in the development of drinking water solutions through technical assistance projects. 
  • Advocate for systemic change to address the root causes of unsafe drinking water in California.
  • Serve as a resource for information and center of expertise on community water challenges.

Since opening our doors in 2006, CWC has worked with local residents from dozens of California communities to improve access to safe, clean, and affordable water. Over the years CWC has trained many community residents as clean water advocates and provided technical and legal assistance to numerous local water boards and community-based organizations struggling with how to manage efficient and accountable water systems in their communities. Our work in partnership with ally organizations has helped pass the nation’s first Human Right to Water Law, helped secure more than $2 billion dollars in funding for drinking water, advanced multiple groundbreaking legislative and regulatory policies that help advance the cause of water justice, raised the visibility of California’s unjust drinking water reality in the media, and most importantly empowered community members themselves to advocate for change. 

CWC’s team is passionate, dynamic, and believes in the cause of water justice and making real change that is driven directly by impacted communities themselves. Our organizing and advocacy work, community collaborations, and organizational culture all reflect a concern for equity, mutual respect, appreciation for diversity, and environmental and social justice. As CWC continues to grow, we are looking for candidates who share our values, bring a passion for achieving our mission, and contribute to making change in our society. We are currently increasing our technical capacity to work alongside communities on state-funded technical assistance (TA) projects to develop drinking water solutions that meet community needs.

CWC has offices in Visalia, Watsonville and Sacramento, CA.

Position Description: The Community Solutions Manager is a full-time exempt position that will be primarily responsible for providing technical support, analysis, and resources to assist communities in making informed decisions on the best drinking water solution(s) for their needs. In some cases, CWC provides this support independently based on in-house expertise and consultation with outside experts. In other cases, CWC collaborates with consultants contracted through state-funded technical assistance contracts. The Community Solutions Manager is expected to work directly with the community advocacy, organizing, and policy teams as well as other CWC staff and interns; and will coordinate with community partners, government agencies, contracted consultants, technical advisors, and affiliate organizations. The Community Solutions Manager will also support the development of draft plans for communities in the Central Coast to develop interim and long-term solutions to water access challenges and tools for communities to understand and engage in the process of decision-making. They will work closely with Community Solutions Advocates to ensure these plans are communicated effectively to community partners and provide opportunities for community engagement and action. This position will require travel to communities throughout the Central Coast, the Central Valley, and Sacramento as needed. (CWC staff are not currently travelling due to the COVID emergency.)  

The Community Solutions Manager will report to the Director of Community Solutions in the Watsonville office. All employees at CWC are “at will.” 

Major Responsibilities: The ideal candidate will have a passion for applying technical and project management skills to community-driven drinking water solutions and policy advocacy. Candidates will excel at this position if they are excited to work alongside other CWC staff, impacted community members, and government and NGO partners to develop more effective programs and processes to ensure that all Californians have access to safe and affordable drinking water. Candidates should also be able to communicate technical ideas to diverse and non-technical audiences and be comfortable advocating for policy and systems change. The responsibilities and opportunities offered in this role are flexible depending on the qualifications of the applicant. Applicants with qualifications exceeding those listed here are encouraged to apply.

  • Manage and support CWC’s state-funded technical assistance projects to assist communities in making informed decisions on the best drinking water solution(s) for their needs by:
    • Coordinating and supporting effective implementation of interim and long-term solutions with community partners, government staff, and CWC staff, including the development of assistance requests and work plans for priority communities.
  • Coordinating the administration of technical assistance projects, including developing and tracking project budgets, submitting funding applications and scopes of work to the State Water Resources Control Board, and providing regular progress reports.
  • Coordinating the procurement of vendors and consultants working on technical assistance projects administered by CWC, and overseeing the development of scopes of work, deliverables, timelines, and specific tasks for these vendors and consultants.
  • Supervising consultants and vendors to ensure contracted work is in the best interest of CWC, meets community needs, is of high quality, and is completed on time.
  • Supporting the development, tracking, and reporting of project outcomes and performance metrics.
  • Provide technical analysis, informational materials, and other resources to assist communities in making informed decisions on interim and long-term solutions for their needs, including: 
    • Understanding of drinking water quality and potential health risks. 
    • Planning and evaluation of potential solutions, such as consolidation with a nearby water system, treatment options, and local drinking water infrastructure improvement projects.
    • Effective engagement and communication with local and state agencies on project planning.
    • Understanding and engaging with government programs to regulate or mitigate impacts to groundwater supplies that also serve as community drinking water sources.
  • Support CWC’s organizing and advocacy efforts by:
    • Coordinating with staff and community partners to develop strategic plans of action, and proactively identify and troubleshoot barriers to community solutions.
    • Using the best available data and local knowledge from community partners to proactively identify communities and geographic areas to focus outreach and engagement efforts.
    • Coordinating with staff on the development of informational materials and communications strategies.
    • Identifying bottlenecks and needs for improvement in the state’s technical assistance processes based on CWC’s project experience and working with CWC’s policy team to advocate for those improvements. 
  • Support CWC’s efforts to promote effective and equitable implementation of the Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA) by:
    • Providing technical support for CWC’s advocacy to Groundwater Sustainability Agencies (GSAs) and comments on Groundwater Sustainability Plans (GSPs).
    • Supporting the integration and coordination between CWC’s community solutions and SGMA work.
  • Build relationships, alliances, partnerships, and coalitions to support CWC’s campaigns and projects.

General Duties 

  • Foster an environment that promotes trust and cooperation amongst staff, management, community members, and affiliate organizations. 
  • Attend and actively participate in staff, management, planning; and program meetings; reporting processes, and staff retreats. 
  • Actively participate in CWC activities such as donor drives and fundraising events.
  • Other duties as assigned by the Executive Director and other Directors.

Note: Nothing in this position description restricts CWC’s right to assign or reassign duties and responsibilities at any time. 

Required Qualifications:

  • Experience reviewing technical analyses and information in public, private or non-profit sectors, preferably related to drinking water, the environment, health, and/or social justice; and synthesizing technical information for non-technical audiences.
  • Strong verbal and written communication and presentation skills, with sensitivity to appropriate delivery depending on target audience.
  • Fluency in English and Spanish.
  • Project management experience, including oversight of project contractors (e.g. consultants working on specific technical aspects of a larger environmental project), and scope, budget and schedule development and tracking. 
  • Outstanding organizational skills, including the ability to manage multiple priorities simultaneously.
  • Ability to work effectively and collaboratively with diverse organizations, groups, and individuals.
  • Ability to work independently and in a team setting. 
  • Experience working with low-income communities and/or communities of color.
  • Ability to be detail-oriented and think analytically, creatively, and critically.
  • Ability to analyze drinking water technology information, develop cost estimates, and develop tools to optimize choices in interim solution systems.
  • Valid Driver’s License.
  • Ability to travel within California and work some nights and weekends. 
  • Proficient with basic computer skills including, at minimum: Microsoft Office, Google Apps, and ability to troubleshoot basic software and computer equipment problems.
  • Bachelor’s Degree.

Preferred Qualifications:

  • Engineering, environmental science, or related degree (strongly preferred). An advanced degree (masters or PhD) is an asset, but is not required.
  • Three or more years relevant professional experience
  • Professional Engineering license in the state of California, or the interest and ability to attain one. 
  • Experience or familiarity with groundwater quality and management, drinking water wells, drinking water treatment, and piped drinking water systems.
  • Experience managing other staff as a direct supervisor and/or as the lead of a project team.
  • Experience working on drinking water projects and/or public policy.
  • Experience planning and facilitating meetings with diverse stakeholders.
  • Experience working with management and analysis of databases, including geospatial data (GIS).

Starting Date: Open until filled

Salary: Starting at $75,000 per year (based on experience and qualifications)

Application: To apply, email resume and cover letter to John Erickson: [email protected]ywatercenter.org 

Benefits: We offer a comprehensive compensation and benefits package which includes: medical, dental, and vision insurance; generous vacation, family and sick leave, and holiday policies; flexible work schedule; professional development opportunities and more.  

Community Water Center is committed to providing equal opportunity to qualified job applicants and employees and does not discriminate on the basis of race, religious creed, color, national origin, ancestry, physical disability (including pregnancy), mental disability, medical condition, marital status, sex, age, sexual orientation, citizenship, military service status or any other characteristic protected by applicable federal, state or local law.

To learn more about the Community Water Center and our programs, visit our website at: www.communitywatercenter.org