The World's Water

Explores the social, political, technical, and environmental dimensions of our looming water crisis. This course prepares students to analyze problems and seek sustainable and equitable solutions to a variety of water challenges. Changing climate and increased development are compromising many water resources around the world. Water scarcity is on the rise in many places due to drought and overuse. In addition, many water bodies are becoming contaminated as a result of various human activities. At the same time, natural systems that purify and protect our water resources are increasingly at risk. It is time to rethink our water use practices and polices regarding what we discharge into our water bodies as well as what we use to hydrate our own bodies and communities. Topics this course will cover include water as a human right, water pollution, virtual water, water security, blue, green and gray infrastructure, water use and control, and water purification.

Students in this course have...

  • Compared road deicers for impacts on waterways
  • Devised new intelligent lawn irrigation systems
  • Evaluated various water filtration strategies
  • Recommended improvements in textile dying


  • Course takes place in A & B terms
  • Professors: Elizabeth Stoddard (Social Science & Policy Studies) and Derren Rosbach (Civil and Environmental Engineering)
  • Class meetings: A Term Monday and Thursday 11:00-12:50, B Term Tuesday and Friday 3:00-4:50 
  • This seminar sequence will count towards a Social Science (SSPS 1000) and Engineering Science (ES 1000) general elective credit.