Courses and Seminars

Energy-Water Nexus, GEOG 596J [Syllabus]
New insights on the coupled resource linkages between water and energy have moved water-energy nexus analysis beyond straightforward quantification of energy-for-water and water-for-energy.  In the context of global change (including climate change, rapid urbanization, and global markets for energy, biofuels, and food), research and decision-making on these coupled resources increasingly focuses on:
– mutual influences between energy and water policy and planning,
– spatial patterns of water and energy use (source to consumption),
– internalizing ‘externalities’ (unintended consequence)
– reinterpretation—of ‘waste, including deferred impacts), and
– policy formulation for global change adaptation that does not undermine long-term mitigation.
The seminar addresses the following topics:
– the energy futures to meet urban and agricultural water demand,
– water resources needs for power generation using conventional fuels and renewables,
– the implications and role of water in the emerging carbon economy,
– comparative energy- and water-based perspectives on efficiency and conservation, and
– the co-evolution of research and policy-making on water and energy that lead to enhanced societal outcomes.policy formulation for global change adaptation that does not undermine long-term mitigation.

Adaptation and Resilience in Water Resources Systems, GEOG 696O [Syllabus]
As we enter an era of drastically heightened pressure on water resources combined with greater exposure to extremes (drought and floods), human societies and ecosystems adapt in unforeseen ways.  Decision-making by water users, agencies, and global water initiatives must rethink conventional approaches that have assumed bounded variability in hydrologic, water demand, and institutional terms.  The new conception of water resource systems – unbounded to allow for multiple future outcomes – seeks to better integrate scientific, engineering, social, and institutional perspectives.  It requires new understanding of multiple factors that influence how water is used and managed and how innovation and adaptation arise and can be strengthened. Thresholds, system reorganization, multiple equilibria, and the societal and ecosystem implications of alternative water resource systems will be addressed.

Water Management & Policy, GEOG 596J [Syllabus]
Management and policy challenges driven by surface water and groundwater scarcity are assessed for the Southwest US, Mexico, and globally. Critical review of institutions coupled with assessment of emerging management systems leads to consideration of policy alternatives.

Adaptive Water Management in Agriculture, GEOG 696J [Syllabus]
Globally, irrigation is the largest user of fresh water and is widely viewed as the hydro-buffer for societal adaptation to climate change. Yet rising demand for food and biofuels drives irrigation withdrawals from rivers and groundwater, with important social and ecological implications. This Geography & Development seminar addresses rapidly evolving agricultural water use, management, and policy at a range of scales in the context of expanding cities and variable climate. Readings draw from U.S. and international experience; topics include food production and security, climate scenarios for agriculture, ag-urban water transfers, ‘more crop per drop,’ virtual water, wastewater & water reuse, watershed water harvesting, and other adaptive strategies.

Water, Environment, and Society, GEOG 304 [Syllabus]
This course explores human and natural systems and their dependence on freshwater at multiple scales. Topics of interest include global change, ecosystem services, groundwater, urbanization, land use, watershed and river basin management, stakeholder processes, and water policy. Relevant examples are drawn from Arizona, Southwest U.S. and international experience.

Water Resource Assessment, GEOG 467 [Syllabus]
This methods class focuses on watersheds, aquifers, and river basins as sources of water to meet human and environmental demands. Techniques include watershed delineation, water budget calculation, safe yield estimation, water quality assessment (total maximum daily load). MODSIM, MODFLOW, and WEAP decision support systems are reviewed.