María Milanés-Murcia, a native of Madrid, Spain recently joined the NM WRRI. She is currently working on several institute initiatives including the Transboundary Aquifer Assessment Program (a federally funded project that is characterizing aquifers along the US-Mexico border) and the New Mexico Statewide Water Assessment (a state funded project that will provide water budget components for the entire state such as evapotranspiration, crop consumptive use, groundwater recharge, and streamflow).
María is also working on identifying water banking policies that could potentially be implemented in New Mexico. She will analyze current water law in order to develop potential water polices that could be implemented at the local level while protecting the interests of individual stakeholders. María will also study the development of conjunctive management policies for surface water and groundwater use in New Mexico. Such policies try to take into account the natural hydrologic connection between surface and groundwater. She will focus on a conjunctive management approach through water banking and water markets that allows for flexibility of water use while enabling an accurate and adequate water-right transfer process.
María is familiar with New Mexico having received a master’s degree in economics with a focus on environmental economics from NMSU. She also holds LLM and JSD degrees in international water resource law with an emphasis on irrigation management, water markets, climate change, and mitigation policies from the University of the Pacific, McGeorge School of Law, California. She also has an LLB from the University of Murcia, Spain. She has provided legal advice to governments, intergovernmental organizations, and NGOs for over ten years. Her research has focused on transboundary rivers, wetlands, land, water, fisheries, plants, animals, food, forestry, wildlife, national parks, climate change, international water issues, environment, and biodiversity. Having worked in North and South Sudan, Uruguay, Costa Rica, and the Middle East, María has vast international experience.
When asked about what she would like to accomplish while at NM WRRI, María responded, “I would like to contribute to the future of New Mexico through my research, which I hope will lead to the development of policies that can be implemented to help improve people’s lives throughout the state.”