Academic Programs

Sustainable Water Markets Fellowship Program

The SWM Program
SWM Fellows
Faculty & Staff

Andrew Ayres is a 4
th year PhD student at the Bren School. He came toAndrew Ayre
s is a PhD candidate at the Bren School of Environmental Science & Management as well as the Department of Economics at UC, Santa Barbara. His research focuses on environmental and natural resource economics, with applications to water and river basin management. The primary line of investigation considers how and when institutions matter for preventing rent dissipation in river basins. Andrew's current work examines legal and economic institutions for the management of groundwater resources, including the conditions under which property rights are adopted and their impact on land values. The goal of this work is to inform the implementation of California's Sustainable Groundwater Management Act, which entails substantial management changes in critical basins throughout the state. Previously, Andrew was a Fulbright Fellow and thereafter worked in Germany at the national and European levels on projects related to climate change, energy, river restoration, and water pricing, among others.

Sam Collie is a PhD student at the Bren School. He graduated from the University of Rhode Island in 2011 with a double major in economics and political science. He completed his MS in agricultural and resource economics at Colorado State University in 2015. Sam's research projects have pertained to common property ownership of groundwater resources. At Colorado State, he looked at how groundwater use could be affected through incentive-based management practices. For his thesis project, Sam studied how aquifer hydrology affects groundwater consumption. This work will lead to a better understanding of how farmers actually use groundwater — an important step toward sustainable water use. Going forward, Sam is interested in studying the political and economic barriers to collective action in the context of freshwater resources.

Eric Fournier completed his PhD at the Bren School in 2015. He came to Bren with a BA in Environmental Studies and a minor in Economics from Bucknell University, and an MS from the Yale School of Forestry and Environmental Studies. Eric’s PhD research focused on the life cycle of environmental and economic impacts of groundwater recharge via treated wastewater in various watershed contexts. With his extensive background in GIS and life-cycle analysis, Eric researched and designed a trading program to optimize the locations of water trades to take into account the location and source of water (e.g. surface, groundwater, reclaimed, desalination). Specifically, Eric worked to better understand the dynamics of systems wherein municipal water authorities use treated wastewater to recharge depleted groundwater aquifers via surface infiltration basins or direct subsurface injection wells. Eric used spatially explicit modeling technique,s which allowed him to simulate the design and operation of such systems, and perform experiments, in silico, relating to the broader impacts of their operation. The goal of generating this information was to better inform our understanding of whether the reuse of treated wastewater is indeed both an economically and environmentally preferable alternative to other, more conventional sources of freshwater supply

Bryan Leonard completed his PhD in 2016 in the economics department at UCSB, focusing on Economics and Environmental Science at the Bren School, and has since taken a position as Assistant Professor of environmental and natural resource economics in the School of Sustainability at Arizona State University. In this position, Brian’s teaching and research is focused on the formation and economic implications of formal and informal property rights regimes in natural resources. Bryan studies how the structure of property rights is shaped by the benefits and costs of defining and enforcing rights along various dimensions and assesses the long-term economic effects of institutional innovations in defining property rights. His research combines formal models of natural-resource use and study of the institutional and legal settings in which property rights emerge with econometric analysis of both historic and modern data sets created using Geographic Information Systems (GIS). Bryan’s PhD research focused on the role of transactions costs in shaping the emergence and persistence of property rights regimes and their subsequent implications for sustainable resource use and environmental markets. A full list of Bryan’s publications, book contributions, presentations, and working papers can be found at

Brian Kastl came to the Bren School in 2014 with three years of experience as a specialist on water-resources management in the Asia Pacific region and the Caribbean. In 2012 Brian designed and led a project in Cambodia for the International Union for Conservation of Nature (IUCN) on coastal watershed management. The following year he led a Payment for Ecosystem Services feasibility study in Micronesia for The Nature Conservancy, producing a key report that initiated institutionalized watershed management policies. While in the region, he was a community-based floo- risk management specialist for the Asian Development Bank, conducting regional-scale reviews of natural resource management policies. In 2014 Brian led a marine ecosystem services valuation study for the Wildlife Conservation Society in Fiji, providing the national government with key economic values for a proposed marine protected area. Brian then conducted a research project on erosion prevention and nutrient retention ecosystem services in Barbados and Trinidad through a United Nations Environmental Program (UNEP) grant and the University of the West Indies. He has also worked as an outdoor leadership instructor for the National Outdoor Leadership School (NOLS) and the East-West Center under a US State Department grant. Brian holds a Master of Science degree with a focus on hydrology from the University of Hawaii and was a Fulbright Scholar on watershed management at the University of Auckland. As a PhD student and SWM Fellow at the Bren School, Brian is particularly interested in conducting watershed management research that informs the development of market-based policies through ecohydrological modeling.