Water Education Foundation Features Board Member/Vice President Scott A. Morris

Sacramento | March 2, 2012
Water Education Foundation Newsletter

In a recent interview, KMTG shareholder and water law attorney, Scott A. Morris, speaks candidly about serving on the Board of Water Education Foundation.  This is what he had to say…

What made you decide to join the Foundation Board?

To me, the Water Education Foundation has always been an icon in the world of water, and I became aware of the work they do as soon as I moved to California and began working in water. I admire the work the Foundation does and enjoy the great variety of programs they put on. They are always relevant and cutting edge.

I was also fortunate enough to graduate from the Foundation's second Water Leaders Class (1998), and that incredible experience taught me how important it was for all of us to support the Foundation; because without the support of all of us, this jewel we take for granted will cease to exist.

Kronick Moskovitz Tiedemann & Girard has an extremely long relationship with the Foundation, and when my mentor, Ed Tiedemann, announced several years ago that he was stepping down from his role as Vice President of the Foundation, I jumped at the chance to put my name in the hat to join the Foundation Board.

What is the best Foundation event you've attended and why?

Sorry, but I can't limit it to just one. Participating in the Colorado River Symposium in Santa Fe, where the original Compact was negotiated and signed, has to be near the top of the list. The history and beauty of the area coupled with the intimacy of a smaller symposium with all the best minds on the topic together in one place is hard to beat.

I recently attended the San Joaquin River Restoration Tour, and even though I am involved in the project for a client, it amazes me how much you learn on these tours. I highly recommend them. Frankly, the tours are also a great deal for those lawyers trying to get their MCLE credits.

Finally, although not really an event, I treasure watching the television productions produced by the Foundation. Rita has an extensive background in television and it really shows. The experts seem to agree based on the number of Emmy Awards those productions have garnered.

What are your goals as Vice President for 2012?

I really have one goal, in addition to my continuing personal support to the Foundation in regard to pro-bono legal issues. I am concerned about the fact that a few long-time, traditional contributors to the Foundation are cutting back, or in some cases, entirely eliminating their contributions to the Foundation. While those contributors may think the loss of their contribution is not significant, every contribution is significant and cumulatively those losses add up and do have a profound effect on the ability of the Foundation to carry out their mission. This cannot continue.

Frankly, I think many of us who have been involved in water for awhile take the Foundation and its very existence for granted since it has always been around. I hope to reinvigorate contributors and help them realize what a loss to even part of the Foundation's programs would mean, to not only the water community, but the general public that the Foundation educates on our behalf.

What are your personal goals for this year?

I love to sail, and keep a boat on the San Francisco Bay. As many boat owners will tell you, they wish they spent more time on the boat, and in that regard, I am no different, and would love to get out sailing more.

What advice do you have for future Foundation Board members?

Get involved in any way you can with the Foundation.  Getting involved allows great connections between the amazing Foundation staff, as well as fellow Board members. Rarely does one get the opportunity to work together for a common goal, the Foundation mission, with such a diverse group of leaders in the water community, from environmental organizations, to agricultural and municipal water interests and various consultants. You are really missing out if you don't take the time to get to know everyone you can, including the future of our world of water -- the amazing participants in the Water Leaders Program.

What have you enjoyed the most so far in your role as Vice President?

The great part about being Vice President is you really aren't any different than every other Board member, so unlike our dedicated and incredibly hard working President Bill Mills and Treasurer Mike Savage, my role is no more demanding than any other Board member.

What I really enjoy about the Foundation is the unabashed role Board members play in trying hard to protect the role of the organization in presenting all sides of water issues. It amazes me when a Board member from one interest fights hard to protect the interests of an opposing view in the interest of maintaining the integrity of the Foundation's reputation for presenting unbiased information. I can't think of any other setting or organization where this would occur, and I love that.