Professor, Department of Agricultural and Resource Economics
University of Arizona
Contact InformationPhone: (520) 621-4775
Research Interests & Background
Dr. Colby’s research, teaching, and outreach focus on economic tradeoffs in water and energy management, climate change adaptation, and incentive-based agreements to improve water supply reliability for agricultural, environmental, and urban needs. Colby has provided invited testimony in her areas of expertise to state legislatures, state and federal courts, and the U.S. Congress, and has taught at Harvard University’s Kennedy School of Government Executive Training Programs. She works with western states, federal agencies, private firms, water districts, and NGOs to develop and implement new strategies to improve water supply reliability and resolve conflicts over water. 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 Braving the Currents: Resolving Conflicts Over the Water of the American West. She recently was awarded the Warren Hall Medal by the Universities Council on Water Resources for distinguished contributions on water research and public service.
Selected Colorado River Publications & Presentations
Ryan Young, Bonnie Colby and Gary Thompson “Tribal Water Rights, Community Economies, and Adaptive Water Institutions in the Western United States” Journal of Natural Resources Policy Research, Vol. 9, No. 1, 2019 Copyright © 2020 doi: 10.5325/naturesopolirese.9.1.0074
Colby, B. (2020). Acquiring environmental flows: ecological economics of policy development in western U.S. Ecological Economics, 173, . https://doi.org/10.1016/j.ecolecon.2020.106655
Isaaks, R., & Colby, B. (2020). Empirical application of rubinstein bargaining model in western u.s. water transactions. Water Economics and Policy, 6(1), . https://doi.org/10.1142/S2382624X19500103
Colby, B. and R. Isaaks, Water Trading: Adaptation, Innovations and Modeling, Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education, Volume165, Issue1 Pages 76-88, 2019. https://doi.org/10.1111/j.1936-704X.2018.03295.x
Colby, Bonnie, and Rowan Isaaks. 2018. “Water Trading: Innovations, Modeling Prices, Data Concerns.” Journal of Contemporary Water Research and Education. December.
Colby, Bonnie, and Ryan Young. 2018. “Tribal Water Settlements: Economic Innovations for Addressing Water Conflicts.” Western Economic Forum. Vol. 16, issue no. 1.
Deol, Suhina, and Bonnie Colby. 2018. “Tribal Economies: Water Settlements, Agriculture, and Gaming in the Western U.S.” Journal of Contemporary Water Research & Education. Issue 163, April.
Kerna, A., B. Colby, and F. Zamora. 2017. “Valuing Environmental Flows in Mexico’s Colorado River Delta.” Water Economics and Policy.
Bonnie Colby. 2016. “Water Linkages beyond the Farm Gate: Implications for Agriculture.” Federal Reserve Bank Economic Review, November. https://www.kansascityfed.org/~/media/files/publicat/econrev/econrevarchive/2016/si16colby.pdf
Hanak, Ellen, Brian Gray, Jeffrey Mount, Kurt Schwabe, Timothy Bradley, Bonnie Colby, Douglas Kenney, Josué Medellín-Azuara, and Jean-Daniel Saphores. 2016. "California's Water: The Colorado River." Public Policy Institute of California Policy Briefing Paper. October. http://www.ppic.org/main/publication.asp?i=1211
Colby, Bonnie. 2016. “Water Trading Innovations: Reducing Agricultural Consumptive Use to Improve Adaptation to Scarcity.” In: Competition for Water Resources: Experiences and Management Approaches in the US and Europe, Jadwiga Ziolkowska and Jeffrey Peterson (editors).
Duval, Dari, and Bonnie Colby. 2016. “The influence of Colorado River flows on the upper Gulf of California fisheries economy.” Ecological Engineering.
Colby, Bonnie. 2016. “Developing System Conservation Programs: A Guide For The Bureau Of Reclamation And Partner Organizations.” Report to U.S. Bureau of Reclamation
Colby, Bonnie, George Frisvold and Matthew Mealy. 2015. “Reallocating Climate Risks Through Water Trading.” In: Handbook of Water Economics, James Roumasset (editor). Springer-Verlag.
Colby, B. and Frisvold, G. 2011. Adaptation and Resilience: The Economics of Climate, Water and Energy Challenges in the American Southwest. Washington: Resources for the Future Press.
Colby, B. and R. Bark. 2009. Inter-sectoral Water Trading as a Climate Change Adaptation Strategy, in Water Resources Planning and Management, chapter 41 (edited by Q. Grafton and K. Hussey). Cambridge University Press.
Colby, B., and K.L. Jacobs (editors). 2006. Arizona Water Policy: Management Innovations in an Urbanizing, Arid Region. Washington: Resources for the Future Press. http://www.tandfebooks.com/isbn/9781936331390
Colby, B.G., J. Thorson, and S. Britton. 2005. Negotiating Tribal Water Rights: Fulfilling Promises in the Arid West. University of Arizona Press. http://www.uapress.arizona.edu/Books/bid1602.htm
“Tribal Water Settlements: Economic Innovations for Addressing Water Conflicts” as part of a Symposium Series, University of Arizona, April, 2020.
“Robust Reservation & Regional Economies: The Role Of Water,” at the Annual Summit: Native Waters Arid Lands. Reno, NV; October 2019.
“Navigating Water Markets and Water Transfers” at the Colorado River Conversations: Integrating Science and Identifying Solutions conference. Tucson, AZ; October 28, 2019. https://ccass.arizona.edu/sites/default/files/CRCC_FinalAgenda_0.pdf
“Water and Regional Economies: Water Agreements Between Tribes and Cities” (with Ryan Young) at the Arizona Community Forum. Tucson, AZ; December 6, 2018.
“Innovations in Water Transactions and Management“ at the Native Waters on Arid Lands, Fourth Annual Tribal Summit. Reno NV; October 16, 2018.
“From the Courthouse to the Marketplace: Striving for Sustainability in the Edwards Aquifer.” University of Colorado. Boulder, CO; June 7, 2018. https://www.getches-wilkinsoncenter.cu.law/2018/06/08/2018-gwc-summer-conference/
“Tribal Economies: Water Settlements, Agriculture, and Gaming” (with Suhina Deol) at the Universities Council on Water Resources Workshop. May 2018
“Evaluating Environmental Water Acquisitions in the Context of Regional Climate Challenges” at the Southwest Climate Symposium. Tucson, AZ; April 2018.
“Water Transactions: Innovations, Bargaining Power, & Recent Trends” (with Rowan Isaaks) at the Arizona Water Resources Research Annual Conference. Tucson, AZ; March 28, 2018.
“Tribal Water Management and Risk-sharing Innovations” (with Ryan Young) at the Arizona Water Resources Research Annual Conference. Tucson, AZ; March 28, 2018.
“Water and Energy Economics in the 21st Century” at the Thomas R. Brown Foundation Symposium. Tucson, AZ; March 2018.
“Farms, Economic Tradeoffs and the Federal Farm Program Implications for Water” at the Public Policy Institute of California Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA; January 2017.
“Economic Criteria for Evaluating Environmental Water Transaction Programs.” National Center for Environmental Analysis and Synthesis, University of California. Santa Barbara, CA; February 1, 2017.
“Farms, Economic Tradeoffs and the Federal Farm Program Implications for Water.” Public Policy Institute of California Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA; January 2017.
“Developing a Framework for Evaluating Regional Water Trading.” Public Policy Institute of California Annual Meeting. San Francisco, CA; January 2017.
“Economic Aspects of Tribal Water Management and Settlement Negotiations.” University of Arizona. Tucson, AZ; November 2016.
“Modeling the Southwestern U.S. Water and Power Interconnected Systems” (with Hwee Hwang and Kevin Lansey). University of Arizona, Water Resources Research Center workshop. Tucson, AZ; November 2016.
“Managing Drought Risks Through Water Banks: Who Pays and Who Benefits?” New Mexico Water Institute Annual Conference. Silver City, NM; October 6, 2016. https://nmwaterconference.nmwrri.nmsu.edu/#
“Trading Water, Money and Risk to Achieve Environmental Benefits.” Water Funders Workshop. Boulder, CO; August, 2016.
“Water Linkages Beyond the Farm Gate: Implications for Agriculture.” Federal Reserve Bank Conference. Kansas City, MO; July 11, 2016. https://www.kansascityfed.org/publications/research/rscp/rscp-2016
“New Era of Water Banking and Refined Water Accounting.” Annual conference of the Getches-Wilkinson Center, University of Colorado. Boulder, CO; June 11, 2015. http://scholar.law.colorado.edu/cgi/viewcontent.cgi?article=1012&context=innovations-in-managing-western-water
“Trading Water and Money to Manage Economic Risk During Shortage.” New Mexico Water Resources Research Institute, Workshop on Water Banking in the Lower Rio Grande. Las Cruces, NM; November 12, 2015. http://waterbank.nmsu.edu/wp-content/uploads/Executive_Summary_Final.pdf
“Innovations in Water Banking to Improve Supply Resilience.” Water Management Strategies for Addressing Long-Term Drought and Climate Uncertainty. Salt Lake City, UT; October 28, 2015. http://werawater.org/wp-content/uploads/2015/11/wwc15-surfacewater-colby.pdf