Rural Community Assistance Corporation, Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments University of New Mexico and New Mexico Environment Department launch free Water Leadership Institute for McKinley County


June 7, 2023

Gallup, New Mexico — Northwest New Mexico Council of Governments (NWNMCOG), University of New Mexico (UNM) Gallup, Rural Community Assistance Corporation (RCAC), McKinley County and the New Mexico Environment Department (NMED) have launched the Water Leadership Institute (WLI) to be held at Gallup UNM Campus from June to August 2023.

Through a series of four no-cost training sessions, the WLI will offer a unique opportunity for board and community members, water operators, office staff and managers to come together and discuss challenges and solutions facing local water utilities while building personal leadership skills. Participants will engage in comprehensive discussions on various water-related topics, including national water policies such as the Lead and Copper Rule and per- and polyfluoroalkyl substances (PFAS); system management; compliance and reporting; funding opportunities; project management; communication skills; asset management; and conflict resolution. The WLI’s ultimate objective is to establish a network of local water leaders capable of serving on boards and continuously developing sustainable water solutions for their respective communities.

“Water scarcity is a community problem that requires new teams of leaders and activists to solve,” said Joseph Gallegos, a 2021 graduate of the Water Leadership Institute and entrepreneur. “The Water Leadership Institute is a great place to develop leadership skills and gain deep water knowledge to play a more active role in solving water scarcity problems and building a better future for your community.”

The Water Leadership Institute workshop series will run from June 23 to Aug. 31, 2023. Water management or leadership experience is not a prerequisite; all that is required is a commitment to participate fully in all the sessions and a strong motivation to serve the community. Operator credits and board member credits will be offered for attending the WLI. Contact Angelina Grey at 505-722-4327 to register.

Founded in 1978, RCAC seeks to collaboratively build the capacity of organizations that serve low-income people living in the rural West (13 states including Alaska and Hawaii). RCAC works in partnership with small rural and Indigenous communities and other local agencies to provide tools and resources necessary to improve their quality of life. RCAC offers a wide range of services to communities with fewer than 50,000 people including technical assistance and training for environmental infrastructure; affordable housing development; economic and leadership development; and financing to support community development. Since its inception, RCAC’s dedicated staff and active board have helped affect positive change in rural and Indigenous communities across the West. To learn more about RCAC, visit

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Julia Helmreich, director
Communications & Development
(916) 529-7563