Melissa A Harris


Melissa Harris has been with the U.S. Geological Survey since 2008. She received her Masters from the University of Illinois – Springfield in environmental studies with a focus on natural resources and sustainable development. She is the USGS Regional Water-Use Specialist for the southeast and a member of the USGS National Water Use Leadership Team whose responsibilities include compiling and disseminating the nation’s water-use data.  

For most of her career, she has worked on a team that has developed models to estimate water withdrawal and consumptive use at thermoelectric power plants in the U.S.  The models are based on linked heat-and- water budgets constrained by power plant fuel consumption and electricity production, generation technologies, cooling-system technologies, and environmental variables. They provide consistent methods for estimating withdrawals for all thermoelectric plant technologies, and independent estimates from federally-reported data.