Ferris and Larson named as senior research fellows for Kyl Center

Monday, January 5, 2015

PHOENIX – Morrison Institute for Public Policy announced the addition of two senior research fellows – Kathleen Ferris and Rhett B. Larson – to help with the research component of the new Kyl Center for Water Policy.

“We are pleased to have two dynamic leaders and experts join us to help the Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute in its initial phases to address Arizona’s challenging and complex water issues,” said Thom Reilly, director of Morrison Institute.

Kathleen Ferris

Rhett B. Larson

The Kyl Center, named after retired U.S. Sen. Jon Kyl in recognition of his statesmanship and continued leadership on water issues, was officially launched in November after a $1 million gift from the Morrison family.

A national search is underway for director of the solutions-oriented center, which includes numerous contributors and collaborators such as the Arizona Department of Water Resources (ADWR) and Arizona Water Resources Research Center (AWRRC) at the University of Arizona.

The Kyl Center already has brought together water experts, attorneys and stakeholders from throughout Arizona to discuss the center’s parameters and priorities in seeking solutions through consensus. The center is expanding its public outreach to ensure greater participation and input regarding water issues.

“Kathleen and Rhett already have made big contributions to the framework of the Kyl Center for Water Policy, so this is a natural step to further benefit from their understanding of water issues,” Reilly said.

Ferris and Larson will join David R. Berman, Grady Gammage Jr.,  Eric C. Hedberg and Bruce Merrill as senior research fellows at Morrison Institute.

Ferris is executive director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association and has been involved with Arizona water issues for more than 35 years. She was appointed executive director of the Arizona Ground Water Study Commission in 1977, culminating in passage of the 1980 Arizona Groundwater Management Act, which is heralded as one of the nation’s most visionary laws for managing groundwater.

She served for five years as chief counsel of the newly formed Arizona Department of Water Resources before being appointed in 1985 by Governor Bruce Babbitt to be director of ADWR.

Ferris has been an attorney in private practice specializing in water issues since 1987. She earned her juris doctor degree at the S.J. Quinney College of Law at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City.

Larson is an associate professor of law in the Sandra Day O’Connor College of Law at Arizona State University, where he teaches water law.

He earned his law degree at The University of Chicago Law School and his master’s degree in water science, policy and management at The University of Oxford in Oxford, England.

Larson has many published articles, including The New Right in Water; Water, Worship, and Wisdom: Indigenous Traditional Ecological Knowledge and the Human Right to Water; and Innovation and International Commons: The Case of Desalination under International Law.

His legal experience includes work at Gallagher & Kennedy, P.A. and Perkins Coie Brown & Bain, P.A., both of Phoenix., with particular expertise in water rights, water quality, water utility transactions, energy law, mining law, agricultural law, and Native American law.

The Kyl Center for Water Policy at Morrison Institute seeks to generate policy proposals for public evaluation and subsequent consideration for possible action or adoption. An Arizona State University resource, the Kyl Center promotes research, analysis, collaboration and open dialogue to identify opportunities for consensus to ensure sound water stewardship for Arizona and the Western region for generations to come.

Morrison Institute for Public Policy Morrison Institute for Public Policy is a leader in examining critical Arizona and regional issues, and is a catalyst for public dialogue. An Arizona State University resource, Morrison Institute uses nonpartisan research and communication outreach to help improve the state’s quality of life.