Curricular materials created for the 2015 SAIL seminar:
This module asks students to research the proposed Red Sea-Dead Sea water conveyance – as well as the accompanying changes to water rights and availability in the Jordan River Valley – and to prepare a policy memo in the role of adviser to a contracting firm considering whether or not to bid on the project. The project requires that students consider social, political, environmental, economic, and technical feasibility issues in their analysis. Students work in teams to prepare a short policy memo as well as a short presentation; teams should also come to the presentation prepared to ask questions of other teams and answer questions posed by a guest expert.
Note: Content adapted from submitted curricular project.
This module was first piloted in an Environmental Studies course, cross-listed with Geography and Political Science, called Water and Power. Prerequisites include one of the following courses: People, Agriculture, and the Environment (Geography), Environmental Geology, or Environmental Science. We expect students in the course to have working knowledge of major water issues from either a scientific or social scientific perspective.
Water and Power develops an interdisciplinary approach to studying water resource development, drawing from geography, anthropology, history, politics, hydrology, and civil engineering. With a focus on large river basins, the course examines historical and emerging challenges to the equitable and sustainable use of transboundary waters. After first exploring the history of American water development, we will turn our attention to issues around sanitation, food production, gender and privatization in Africa, Asia, Latin America, and the Middle East.
The assignment was given to students in the last third of the course. Students had already encountered technical background on different kinds of water infrastructure and indicators of water scarcity. They also engaged with different political models for governing water, learned about different approaches to privatizing the water sector, and already written a similar policy memo on a Great Lakes pipeline issue.