Community Water Center

Community-driven water solutions through organizing, education, and advocacy

Water Board Elections


Getting Involved with Your Local Water Board Elections

Local water boards, including Community Services Districts (CSDs), Public Utilities Districts (PUDs), and nonprofit Mutual water companies, as well as small cities, are responsible for implementing the Human Right to Water in many rural communities.

We just released a new report: "Untapped Opportunity: Local Water Boards and the Fight for Water Justice." The report found that in the southern San Joaquin Valley, 87% of local water board seats were uncontested in the most recent election -- that’s almost 500 local seats. When only one candidate runs for a seat, the seat does not appear on a ballot, and the election does not take place. In Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties, 75 of 109 local water boards studied have not held a single election in the last four years.

This gap of local leadership is partly due to the complicated and fragmented nature of water governance in CA and the lack of support and resources for interested leaders to step into decision-making roles themselves. In order to address this gap, the Community Water Center has compiled resources for community leaders to learn more about local water boards and to take the next step to run in their water board election. How to use these resources:

  1. Check out the CWC factsheets and resources to learn more about local water boards
  2. Contact your county elections office to confirm you are eligible to run in your local water board district and take direct action to improve your community by filing to be a candidate in your local water board election
  3. In November, run for a seat, vote, or encourage others to vote in your community’s water board election
  4. Once you are a local water board member, apply to join the Community Water Leaders Network to receive ongoing support!

Deadline to file for candidacy for a special district water board:

July 15, 2018— August 15, 2018



Tulare County Elections Office— Contact: (559) 636-5000
Government 101 and application form for board members of special districts

Kings County Elections Office— Contact: (559) 852-4401
Current elections information— November elections information coming soon

Fresno County Elections Office— Contact: (559) 600-8683
Current elections information— November elections information coming soon

Kern County Elections Office— Contact: (661) 868-3590  
Current elections information— November elections information coming soon


In order to provide ongoing support to elected officials in order to ensure they are successful once on boards, CWC established the Community Water Leaders Network. The Community Water Leaders Network is a leadership cohort that unites local board members to increase access to safe, clean and affordable drinking water in the San Joaquin Valley through information sharing and capacity building. To learn more about the Community Water Leaders Network, and to apply to join the network, follow this link.

When will my community have local water board elections?

Seats Up For Election: The reference sheet below provides information on all of the 142 special districts that deal with water in Fresno, Kern, Kings, and Tulare counties. Local water boards are typically five-member boards on which each director serves a four-year term. Elections for special districts are staggered, and take place every two years; most boards hold elections in even-numbered years. For instance, a board might have three seats up for election in 2018, and the remaining two up for election in 2020.

Related News & Resources

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February 2018 CWLN Newsletter

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