Fred Merryfield
President: 1972-1974 (IWSA)


Fred Merryfield

Distinguished Pioneer

Professional background

Fred Merryfield (1900-1976) emigrated to the US from England in 1915, returned to England as an RAF Pilot in WWI and thereafter earned his degree in Civil Engineering from Oregon State College in 1923 and his Masters in Water Resources from University of North Carolina, in 1930.

He was an early member of OSU’s faculty beginning in the 1930’s and helped build the school’s civil and environmental engineering program until his retirement from the university in 1965.   An early advocate for comprehensive approaches to river basin management, he is also credited for diagnosing and then undertaking physical and institutional measures to restore the health of the Willamette River. His leadership and advocacy in this arena was significant in the creation of the Oregon State Department of Environmental Quality.

In parallel to these activities, and his work at the University, in 1946 he and three others founded what was to become the globally prominent consulting firm CH2MHill, where he worked until second retirement in 1970.

Major contributions to IWA

Given Fred’s origins and leadership history, he was not surprisingly a prominent figure in the London-based International Water Supply Association (IWSA), where he served as President from 1972-1974 and played a part in organizing IWSA’s first US World Congress in New York City (1972).  His second wife Anne, a water-resources biologist, was also a prominent member of IWSA.  Like a number of other important IWSA leaders (e.g., Cornelis Biemond), Fred was active in the area of source water protection for drinking water, and having been a past-President of AWWA in the US, served as an important link between IWSA and AWWA in these areas.

Author:  Paul D. Reiter

Major Contributors: Arlen Borgen, Bob Chapman (US)