Susan Kelly joined the Utton Center in 2003 as Associate Director, became the Interim Director in 2009 and the Director in 2010. She retired from the University in 2011. Susan worked on many projects related to the Center's mission of helping stakeholders who share a water resource manage the resource instead of litigating over it. She worked with all of the major water institutions in New Mexico - non-profit, federal and state. She also worked with law students on projects related to water law. During the Spring 2009 semester she co-taught a law school course, Practical Application of Water Law.
Susan was involved with all of the Center's major projects. Some of these included:
- Water Matters! - an annual publication primarily for New Mexico Legislators with articles on current water issues which put the issues in a broad context and provide background on how the issues have evolved.
- Transboundary Waters: Crossing Cultural Boundaries (2004)
- Rio Grande Reservoirs research, writing and symposium (2006)
- Energy Water Nexus (with Sandia National Labs)
- Rio Grande Bosque workshops (2004 and 2005)
- Environmental Flows workshop (2010)
- Water Rights Ombudsman Program (developed program in 2005)
- Land and Water Connection - exploring the nexus between land use and availability of water and looking at improved processes.(2011 conference and publication)
- Upstream Downstream - a project intended to integrate some aspects of three regions to address existing and projected deficits of Middle Rio Grande water
- U.S./Mexico border issues - Susan represented the State of New Mexico on the Water Work Table of the New Mexico/Chihuahua Border Commission and .the Border Governors Conference,
- River Restoration conference and proceedings (with the US Bureau of Reclamation)
Susan, with co-author Geoff Klise, wrote How Science Can Provide Pathways to Solutions-The Technical Toolbox, published in the 2007 New Mexico Tech Decision-Makers Field Guide. In 2009, she wrote Urban Water Administration in the Albuquerque Urban Area and moderated the New Mexico Tech Decision-Makers Conference. As a follow-up to an earlier symposium regarding the Rio Grande Reservoirs, Susan organized a special edition of the Natural Resources Journal (Summer 2007, Vol. 47, No. 3), devoted to the laws and policies of the Rio Grande reservoirs in New Mexico. Susan's article, Modeling Reservoir Storage Scenarios by Consensus, was included in that edition; and, with several law students as co-authors, an updated Legislative History of the Rio Grande Reservoirs was published. Susan is a 1981 graduate of the University of New Mexico School of Law and received her undergraduate degree from Arizona State University. She has been a 30 year member of New Mexico State Bar Association, and also the American Planning Association; and formerly a member of the American Institute of Certified Planners. Prior to joining the Utton Center, Susan was the Water Rights Manager for the City of Albuquerque, New Mexico. She managed the City's water rights portfolio, including the acquisition and transfer of water rights and administration of the City's well permits and water storage contracts.She represented the City in regional and state-wide water resource planning projects. Susan worked in community and regional planning for eight years, including policy development and infrastructure capital planning. She helped develop Albuquerque's system of bicycle and recreational trails. In private law practice, Susan primarily dealt with real estate and business clients. In 2011, Susan received an New Mexico Riparian Council Partnership award for her "incredible ability to bring people together."