Michelle E. Miro

Photo of Michelle Miro
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 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 also works on hurricane recovery in the United States Virgin Islands.

She is a co-investigator for the National Oceanic and Atmospheric Administration (NOAA) Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA) program, where she leads coastal resilience and stormwater management research, and serves as a co-investigator on a National Academy of Science coastal resilience grant focused on flood risk and climate resilience for communities in the Gulf of Mexico.

Miro has carried out and co-led projects that apply methods for decision making under deep uncertainty (DMDU) to water resources agencies and utilities in Southern California and South America. Her portfolio of work also includes projects on groundwater management in urban and agricultural regions, quantifying sustainable yield under California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, downscaling remote sensing datasets from NASA's GRACE satellite, collaborative climate planning in the Hampton Roads region of Virginia, and transboundary water management between India and Pakistan.

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.

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
  • Identifying Vulnerabilities in San Bernardino Valley Municipal Water District's (SBVMWD) Water Supply Plans
  • Mid-Atlantic Regional Integrated Sciences and Assessments (MARISA)

Selected Publications

Miro, M., Marlier, M. and R. Girven, Transboundary Environmental Stressors on India-Pakistan Relations, RAND Corporation (RR-2715), 2019

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., Romita Grocholski, K., DeGaetano, A. and S. Borisoff, Chesapeake Bay Climate Impacts Summary and Outlook, Summer 2019, RAND Corporation (TL-313v3-NOAA)

Preston, B., Miro, M., Brenner, P., Gilmore, C., Madrigano, J., Raffensperger, J., Catt, D., and A. Huttinger, Beyond Recovery – Transforming Puerto Rico’s Water Sector in the Wake of Hurricane Maria, RAND Corporation (RR-2608-DHS), 2020 (forthcoming)

Miro, M., Best, K., Kaynar, N., Kirpes, R. and A. Najera Chesler , "Approaches to analyzing the vulnerability of community water systems to groundwater contamination in Los Angeles County," Research in Mathematics and Public Policy, 2020 (forthcoming)

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




  • 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