Marisa Escobar is the Water Program Director at SEI US, based in the Davis office. Her work focuses on creating linkages between physical processes and socio-ecological systems.
She uses her expertise on water, including water quality, the physics of water, and the movement of water through watersheds, to produce information on the implications of decisions about water on the overall ecosystem. Her geographic focus is California (where she resides) and Latin America (where she is from). Exploring the linkages between water and the socio-ecological system in Latin America has resulted on the investigation of the energy-water-food nexus and of the role of hydropower in sustainable development.
Since joining SEI’s U.S. Centre in California in 2007, Marisa has used SEI’s Water Evaluation and Planning System (WEAP) as a primary tool for her analyses. In a major project funded by a STAR Grant from the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, she has linked WEAP to ecosystem assessment tools to study anadromous fish management in California rivers, focusing on analyzing the tradeoffs between power production and other water management objectives.
Marisa also works to advance the use of WEAP in Latin America and to support a rapidly growing WEAP user community in the region. For example, as part of a World Bank-supported investigation of potential climate change impacts on water resources management in Peru, she developed a glacier accumulation and ablation routine and integrated it with WEAP rainfall-runoff modeling algorithms.
Also in Latin America, Marisa is using WEAP as an analytical tool to support negotiations around the definition of water benefit-sharing mechanisms in Andean Rivers, under funding from the global CGIAR Challenge Program on Water and Food.
Marisa has a B.S. in civil engineering from Javeriana University, in Bogotá, Colombia; an M.S. in civil and environmental engineering from Los Andes University, also in Bogotá; an M.Eng. in the same field from the University of California, Berkeley; and a Ph.D. in hydrologic sciences from the University of California, Davis.