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US Water Prize for Outstanding Public Official: Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury (NM-1)

US Water Alliance | August 24, 2021

Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury is a dedicated One Water Champion. Prior to her election in 2021 to represent the first congressional district of New Mexico, Congresswoman Melanie Stansbury served as a state representative. As a state representative, Congresswoman Stansbury crafted, sponsored, and led the groundbreaking bipartisan legislation of the Water Data Act, signed into law in 2019. 

Congresswoman Stansbury was elected to the New Mexico House of Representatives in 2018, becoming the first woman to represent New Mexico in her district. She quickly began drafting the Water Data Act, meant to improve how state agencies manage and share data on the state’s limited water resources. 
 
The Water Data Act has already streamlined data sharing and improved collaboration between agencies, especially for water managers who now have access to previously siloed data on water resources. This insight is even more valuable as temperatures and aridity increase due to climate change. The success of the Act has attracted partnership opportunities and matching funds from the US Bureau of Reclamation’s WaterSMART program, furthering its impact. 
 
Following the success of the Water Data Act, Congresswoman Stansbury held a series of listening sessions across the state to collect stories, ideas, and information from stakeholders on how to modernize approaches to water science, policy, management, and infrastructure. She then passed legislation to employ technological solutions like underground aquifer mapping and high-resolution aerial photography to improve water management, and she is currently leading efforts to modernize New Mexico’s state water code. 
 
The US Water Alliance is pleased to award Congresswoman Stansbury with the US Water Prize for Outstanding Public Official in recognition for her work advancing sustainable, integrated, and inclusive solutions to water challenges.