Events & Media

The Bren School of Environmental Science & Management
at the University of California, Santa Barbara


Sustainable Water Markets

"Trading Risk, Water, and Money: Refining Water Markets"

Bonnie G. Colby
Department of Resource Economics
University of Arizona

Wednesday, November 20, 2013
11:30 - 12:30
Bren Hall 1414

Bonnie Colby may know more about water markets, their potentials, and their limits than any other researcher. She has worked on water-related topics for over 25 years and has published widely on water markets, transaction costs, and regulatory actions that promote or impede them. She has been an advisor to many state and federal agencies and is a professor of agricultural and resource economics at the University of Arizona. — Gary Libecap, faculty host

Water markets globally have undergone tremendous change over the past decade, in volume and type of trades, governing policies, trading mechanisms, and purposes served by trades. Transactions to provide water for environmental needs are more common than in previous times. Nevertheless, more flexible water trading will be necessary to address the increased variability in regional water supplies anticipated with climate change. Increased incidence of extreme events (flooding, heat waves, deeper drought) is another climate change effect that poses challenges across water-use sectors. This presentation will identify water trading characteristics useful in addressing increased variability and extreme events, as well as policy changes to facilitate more responsive water markets.  

Bonnie Colby is a professor at the University of Arizona, where she has been a faculty member since 1983 in the Departments of Resource Economics, Geography, and Hydrology and Water Resources. She focuses on evaluating economic tradeoffs in water and energy management, climate change adaptation, incentive-based conservation strategies and contractual arrangements to improve water supply reliability for environmental and urban needs. Dr. Colby has authored over one hundred journal articles and eight books, including Risk And Resilience: The Economics Of Climate, Water and Energy In The Arid Southwest, Water Markets in Theory and Practice and Arizona Water Policy: Management Innovations in an Urbanizing, Arid Regions. She has provided invited testimony on these matters to state legislatures, state and federal courts and the U.S. Congress, and has taught at Kennedy School of Government’s Executive Training programs in environmental economics.

NOTE: Community colloquia are generally talks of broad interest geared toward a diverse, sophisticated audience. Their purpose is not only to enhance knowledge and understanding, but also to bring people together and promote interaction that will strengthen the community.


To join the "bren-alerts" mailing list and receive announcements about Bren School news and events, or to manage your bren-alerts account, go to

To see a list of currently scheduled Bren events, visit

To have an event considered for distribution via bren-alerts, send e-mail to

For more information or for assistance in accommodating a disability, please contact BJ Danetra

To find out how to support the Bren School, please contact Andrew Krupa