Michelle E. Miro

Photo of Michelle Miro
Engineer; Professor, Pardee RAND Graduate School
Santa Monica Office


Ph.D. in water resources engineering, UCLA; M.S. in water resources engineering, University of Illinois Urbana-Champaign; B.A. in humanities, University of Texas at Austin


Michelle E. Miro is an engineer at the RAND Corporation with expertise in water resources policy and management, climate resilience planning, remote sensing, geospatial analysis, and machine learning. She is also a professor at the Pardee RAND Graduate School.

She co-led the development of Puerto Rico's water sector recovery plan, including a strategic review of and recommendations for drinking water, wastewater, stormwater and flood control infrastructure projects, system operations, and long-term planning.

She has carried out and co-led projects on collaborative climate planning in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, transboundary water management between India and Pakistan, water utility finance and financial management in the United States, extreme precipitation impacts and planning in the Chesapeake Bay Watershed, and water demand planning with the San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District. 

Her research has utilized observations from NASA's GRACE satellite system and machine learning methods to better estimate local-scale groundwater availability and inform regional water management decisions in California's Central Valley. She also developed a novel method for quantifying sustainable yield under California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act.

Miro has a Ph.D. in civil engineering from the University of California, Los Angeles, an M.S. in civil engineering from the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, and a B.A. in humanities from the University of Texas at Austin.

Pardee RAND Graduate School Courses

Recent Projects

  • Puerto Rico Recovery Plan
  • Climate Vulnerabilities in Water Master Plans in Mendoza, Argentina
  • Transboundary Environmental Stressors on India-Pakistan Relations: An Analysis of Shared Water Resources and Air Quality
  • Estimating Future Water Demand for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District (SBVMWD)
  • Water Utility Finance and Governance in the United States

Selected Publications

Miro, M., Groves, D., Catt, D. and B. Miller, Estimating Future Water Demand for San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District, RAND Corporation (WR-1288-SBVMWD), 2018

Miro, M. and J. Famiglietti , "Downscaling GRACE remote sensing datasets to high-resolution groundwater maps of California’s Central Valley," Remote Sensing, 10(143), 2018

Miro, M. and J. Famiglietti , "A framework for quantifying sustainable yield under California’s Sustainable Groundwater Management Act (SGMA)," Journal of Sustainable Water Resources Management, 2018

"Sustainable Water Resources Management in China: Critical Issues and Opportunities for Policy Reforms," in Cai, X. and Miro, M., Oxford Companion to Economics of China, Oxford University Press, 2014

McCollester, M., Miro, M., and K. Van Abel, Building Resilience Together: Strengthening National Security in a Changing Climate, RAND Corporation (RR-), 2019 (forthcoming)

Miro, M., Marlier, M. and R. Girven, Transboundary Environmental Stressors on India-Pakistan Relations, RAND Corporation (RR-), 2019 (forthcoming)


  • Five glasses of water, with dirty water in the center, photo by hdere/Getty Images

    How to Ensure Quality Drinking Water Service for All? One Option Is Fewer Utilities

    California's Human Right to Water Bill declares that “every human being has the right to safe, clean, affordable, and accessible water.” One clear barrier to reaching this target is the sheer number of small water utilities that pose service sustainability and public health risks to their customers.

    Mar 26, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • Department of Water and Power employees assess the damage from a broken 30-inch water main on Sunset Boulevard, next to the UCLA campus in the Westwood section of Los Angeles, July 30, 2014, photo by Lucy Nicholson/Reuters

    Lessening Leakages: How Water Systems Can Learn From Smart Electric Grids

    As drought and population growth place increasing pressure on water supply, the need to save and efficiently manage Southern California's water resources becomes increasingly critical. A single information and communication technology platform could go a long way toward moving water utilities from reactive to proactive maintenance practices.

    Mar 22, 2019 The RAND Blog

  • Oil barrel leaking oil grass, photo by RuslanDashinsky/Getty Images

    Increasing Groundwater Reliance in L.A. County Means Dealing with Extensive Contamination

    As the Los Angeles region increases its reliance on groundwater sources to become more resilient in the face of drought and to reduce demand for imported water sources, advances in the information available on groundwater quality and contamination could help community water systems avoid health hazards and better ensure a safe drinking water supply.

    Mar 12, 2019 The RAND Blog