This course combines an overview of the science behind water and climate in the Western United States with a survey of the major legal, political, and cultural issues focused on this precious resource.
Why is water at the heart of so much conflict in the American West? How have major cities and extensive agricultural systems been able to thrive despite most of the region being either a desert or semi-desert environment? How will a warming climate affect the availability and use of water in a region populated by tens of millions of people?
We begin our journey with an overview of the geography of the Interior West and its extreme contrasts, from snow-capped high mountain peaks to bone-dry deserts. We will then look at how humans have learned to adapt to the peculiarities of life in such a dry place as we examine the history of water development in the region and the main legal, political, and cultural issues at stake. We’ll explore the primary role of snow as a water source as we discuss the physical science of water in the west—where it comes from, how it gets used, and how a warming climate could affect its availability.
We’ll use the Colorado River, often referred to as the most controlled and most litigated river in the world, as an in-depth case study. A 1922 agreement over sharing the water among seven states set the stage for conflict among states, tribes, the federal government, and others. We’ll see how scientific research into the climatic variability of the River is informing these conflicts and other policy questions, and who is tackling the big issue of what to do if a mega-drought—or a warming climate—were to lead to a reduction in supply in this critical lifeline for much of the American Southwest. Finally, we’ll explore some critical issues in depth and give you the chance to compare management of water supplies in your area—wherever you are located in the world—to that of the arid West.
For those living in the region, we hope to make this a fascinating look at how water gets to your tap; for those from elsewhere in the world we believe the Interior West makes for a fascinating case study in management of a scarce resource.
This subject explores the world of water management on a drying planet. In this subject you will take the journey of water - how it began, and its availability today in light of global warming and urbanisation. You will see that the natural environment is reaching a threshold, and the impact that has for us and the water supplies that we rely on. We will answer the questions -what are organisations and policy makers doing to secure our water future? How is society working together towards climate resilience?
This course introduces the academic approach of Sustainability and explores how today’s human societies can endure in the face of global change, ecosystem degradation and resource limitations. The course focuses on key knowledge areas of sustainability theory and practice, including population, ecosystems, global change, energy, agriculture, water, environmental economics and policy, ethics, and cultural history.
Explore the challenges and complexity of both global and local infrastructure (IT/Telecom, Energy, Water and Transportation) and how to make the best decisions to improve it. We increasingly depend on reliable and affordable supply of energy, water, transport, telecommunication and information services to improve livability and facilitate economic development. However, today's infrastructure systems are drastically changing. They are becoming more and more web-based, interconnected and transnational, with increasingly fragmented public and private ownership, while new technologies are on their way.
Aujourd’hui la gestion de l’eau se trouve confrontée à de nouveaux défis tels que le changement climatique ou les conséquences des activités anthropiques. Les acteurs publics ou privés dans ce domaine doivent développer de nouvelles compétences pour mieux gérer le cycle de l’eau « dans son ensemble ».
L'ambition du cours est de confronter ses participants aux enjeux techniques, économiques, sociaux et environnementaux du XXIe siècle. Ces enjeux sont par nature très fortement couplés et complexes. Ils exigent une approche interdisciplinaire, afin d’adopter un vrai questionnement, au delà des préjugés et des idées reçues.