We ignore its security at our peril.

Kathleen Ferris was a 28-year-old legislative aide in the Arizona Senate when she was tapped to be the executive director of the Arizona Groundwater Study Commission. “I tried to find someone else to take the job,” she says, “and no one would.” After months of wrangling, that group of miners, farmers, business people, and city managers — under the insistent glare of Ferris — came up with one of the nation’s most innovative water management laws, and one of the most effective.

Almost 40 years later, Arizona has more than double the people it did, and uses 93% less groundwater. Ferris went on to spend her career in water, and recently retired as executive director of the Arizona Municipal Water Users Association. She lives in Paradise Valley, Arizona.


“In 1980, ‘environmental security’ as a phrase wouldn’t have resonated. People didn’t talk about ‘water security’ then. And frankly even environmental concerns were not in the minds of most of the negotiators of the act. A lot of them just wanted to make sure their businesses continued.”

– Kathleen Ferris

Join Ferris and other leaders for riveting conversations about the secure future of our water at Water Leaders Summit 2017 in Milwaukee, Wisconsin. Registration closes May 19.

– Charles Fishman
This post was tagged under: Charles Fishman, Kathleen Ferris, Water Leaders Summit, Water Security