Course ObjectiveWater is central for ecosystems, human wellbeing and development. The
relationship between society and water resources is critical and
complex. Water issues have been historically treated as a technical
problem, something to be resolved through hydraulic and engineering
solutions. However, the increasing and exacerbating competition over
water resources due to expanding global population, climate change and
conflicting production activities raises new political and democratic
challenges. Understanding water governance implies developing
multidisciplinary knowledge about the different problems, approaches,
perspectives and controversies related to how societies cooperate and
compete over water resources. This course aims at building students’
knowledge, critical thinking and analytical skills on the governance of
freshwater resources with particular emphasis on the institutional,
political and organizational dimensions.
The main objective of this course is for you to develop an expert
understanding of the multidimensional challenges of governance of water
resources. Collectively as a class, and individually, you will develop
expertise in the water governance world by engaging with the core
scientific literature, discussing and tackling real world problems and
independent research activities. By the end of the course, you will have
gained an understanding of the complexity of water governance: the
various models of governance, its structures and institutions at
multiple scales, the different values and uses of water, and the main
frames and debates from multiple perspectives.
By the end of this course you will be able to:
• Describe various principles and theories for water governance and
• Apply these to analyze different water policy and governance
interventions, by analyzing them from diverse and diverging perspectives
• Formulate your own analysis and suggestions regarding water-governance
interventions on multiple scales: local, national and international
• Synthesize and communicate your ideas and expertise orally and in
Course ContentWATER GOVERNANCE: FOUNDATIONS
- Introduction to water governance, global dimensions of water
- Adaptive Governance and Management
- Water governance current debates
- Integration, participation and democracy
WATER GOVERNANCE: TRENDS AND APPLICATIONS
- Urban water commons management
- Water scarcity
- Rural water governance and river basins coordination
- International Cooperation
WATER GOVERNANCE: HYDROPOLITICS
- Global Virtual Water Trade, Water War and Peace
- Water Law and Water Rights
- Water politics, privatization and controversies
Teaching MethodsFormat of the Course:
This course will be intensive, because during three weeks you will be
“immersed” in water governance studies [pun intended]. We will spend an
important amount of the course in the classroom but you will also be
required to study the readings to prepare for lectures and discussions.
We will have three weekly meetings and each day we will mix: frontal
lectures, discussions and group activities and we will have guest
speakers delivering lectures on specific topics.
The structure of each session consists of lectures at the start, where I
will first highlight concepts and key questions related to the topics we
are working on. We will then engage in-group discussions associated with
the key issues addressed in each session. The group activities will
include simulations and team assignments and presentations. Readings
will be assigned for each session and it will be essential to be well
prepared in order to successfully participate and address key questions
that we will tackle. Finally, writing assignments, problem solving and
pop-up quizzes will be an integral part of the course too.
Participation: Due to the complexity of the issues addressed and the
concentrated length of the course I highly recommend attending every
session. Of course, if you will have serious family or health reasons
you can count on my help for making up for your absence and catching up,
but otherwise it will really not be in your interest to miss classes.
The amount of the material that we will go through and the very short
time to prepare between the end of classes and the final exam will not
allow you to be successful in this course if you procrastinate.
I will lead group discussions on key questions related to the readings.
To make the most of our time together, I will call on students directly
to address specific question during the group discussion. I will apply
the “Socratic method” and challenge you to defend your opinions. (This
is a method that might seem a little intimidating, but is particularly
useful to develop the capacity to debate publicly and defend your
opinions – in line with the learning goals of the course.)
Preparation advice: As MSc students you are very qualified, motivated
and brilliant therefore some of this advice might be unnecessary.
However, I can’t stress enough the importance to hit the ground and
start running from day one, actively participate and not fall
behind…keep in mind it’s only 3 weeks of classwork. A critical aspect is
that you make an effort to study the assigned readings before class. If
you don’t you will see pages adding up quickly and you not be as able to
engage productively in discussions and have less information and tools
to understand the lectures. For urgent doubts I will be available almost
every afternoon during the weeks of classwork, my objective is that you
learn and succeed and I look forward to work with you, so please take
advantage of office hours.
Method of AssessmentDissemination group assignment and public presentations: You will work
in teams and will give a power point presentation on a specific topic
and on your dissemination activity: 10% of final grade.
Research short paper: the paper will be on key water governance topics:
25% of final grade.
In class final exam: there will be a closed-book digital 2.5h exam: 65%
of final grade.
Pop quizzes: without prior notice I will give you short quizzes on the
readings. Being prepared for the quizzes is a great way to prepare in
advance for the final exam. (Some of the questions in the quizzes will
be on your final exam). No formal grading
LiteratureSelected articles and book chapters available in Canvas, organized
around the above topics. There is no textbook for this class. For the
most part, we will use scientific peer reviewed articles and, in certain
cases, policy reports or other kind of documents. As we will be using
scientific articles I will provide instructions on what I expect you
should be focusing. There will also be an additional number of suggested
readings for the people interested in learning more about specific
topics. Also, please note that the reading list available here in some
rare cases might change during the course but you will all be clearly
notified. You will find the final readings list every week and all the
required readings in weekly folders in Blackboard.
Target AudienceMaster level students with an interest in understanding the role of
governance in the emergence of water issues, and their potential
Additional InformationThe course is coordinated and taught by Dr. Jampel Dell'Angelo with
invited guest speakers. Language of teaching is English.
Custom Course RegistrationThrough the regular VU channels
|Language of Tuition||English|
|Faculty||Faculty of Science|
|Course Coordinator||dr. J. Dell'Angelo|
|Examiner||dr. J. Dell'Angelo|
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