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Highlights of this Course

It is often said that "water is the new oil." Indeed, water promises to be the resource that determines many countries' wealth, welfare, and stability in the 21st century. The nature of water as a resource is changing. Water resources are increasingly over-used, water quality is sub-optimal, and ecological integrity is excessively taxed. Such tensions are exacerbated at dynamic political, physical, cultural, and economic boundaries. A changing world requires a changing education. This interdisciplinary seminar -- co-taught by faculty from Engineering, and the Fletcher School of Law and Diplomacy -- is designed to encourage students to think across boundaries, emphasize knowledge integration, and link information to action. The goal is to combine multiple perspectives in order to explore solutions to water conflicts and the negotiations required to achieve those solutions. The seminar will emphasize collaborative learning opportunities, co-teaching of classes by students and faculty, and integrative activities that span disciplinary, physical, and political boundaries. Students will collectively produce a state-of-knowledge "white paper" and contemporary water related "case studies" that will be disseminated to a global audience and revised by future students and faculty. We envision these case studies to form the basis of a global community of water professionals to interact and learn from each other through our collaborative network we call AQUAPEDIA.

Course Description

The overarching aim of this seminar is to prepare a new generation of interdisciplinary water professionals who will think across boundaries, emphasize integration of knowledge, link knowledge and action from multiple perspectives to help reduce water conflicts and increase the distribution of benefits among partners through mutual gains negotiations. Rather than start at the disciplinary level, students will begin by defining the issues and problems of water use and management from multiple perspectives. They will learn "systems thinking" and apply effective combination of analytical tools from appropriate disciplines to develop possible solutions.We have four goals within the framework of a carefully integrated set of activities to achieve our aim. They are to

  1. understand tensions and complementarities between science and policy to design integrated approaches to address water conflicts through mutual gains negotiations;
  2. integrate joint fact finding methodologies to iteratively refine the problem definition before attempting to find solutions;
  3. create collaborative opportunities by establishing an academic culture which promotes dual-mentoring, co-teaching of classes, and co-publication of findings on jointly defined water conflicts; and
  4. design integrative activities to develop and sustain a community of scholars and provide a "common experience" to all participating students and faculty.
The course contains three learning modules: Module-M1a: Water Science and Systems; Module M1b: Policy Sciences and Environmental Economics; and Module-M2: Water: Conflicts, Negotiations, and Cooperation. A unique feature of these planned modules is the student-teacher partnership in the development and offering of these modules. Social science students will help teach economics and policy, and science and engineering students will help teach the water science and systems.

Please note that the course as presented here does not contain the full content of the course as taught at Tufts. The included content is based on material the Tufts faculty and instructors choose to include, as well as factors such as content preparation, software compatibility, and intellectual property and copyright restrictions.
Course Faculty
Shafiqul Islam
William Moomaw
Course Length
3 Hours
Advanced Undergraduate and Graduate