Education Working Group

Education Working Group

Education Working Group Upcoming Events, Classes, and Information:

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[Course Announcement]:

Water Resource Economics

WATER RESOURCE ECONOMICS: Evans School of Public Policy 547

The course is designed for graduate students with backgrounds in public policy, engineering, hydrology, marine affairs or forestry that are interested in learning how economic tools can be applied to water resources policy. Students will gain familiarity with the basic economic insights into water scarcity problems, including static and dynamic efficiency for consumers and producers. We will discuss water pricing, economic analysis of large infrastructure projects, groundwater management, and techniques for measuring the demand for water in the agricultural, environmental, municipal and industrial sectors. Examples used in class will be drawn primarily from the Western US with some international applications.

This course will explore the economics of water resources. Students will gain familiarity with the basic economic insights into water resources problems, including static and dynamic efficiency for consumers and producers. We will discuss water pricing (including both municipal and irrigation), and cover techniques for measuring water demand. The course will primarily cover topics concerned with water quantity; students interested in topics of water quality and pollution control are encouraged to take PbAf 594 (Economic Approaches to Environmental Management).

Overview:

  • PubPol 547
  • Professor Joe Cook (jhcook@u.washington.edu)
  • T,Th 10:30 -11:50
  • 4 credits
  • Graduate Students Only
  • SLN 18942

Course Goals

  • Define and apply to a water resource problem the following economic concepts: static efficiency, dynamic efficiency, Pareto optimality, discounting and the rate of time preference, benefit-cost analysis, opportunity costs, marginality, and public goods
  • Analyze optimal water use (from a consumer perspective), and optimal water supply (from a producer perspective) using simple optimization approaches
  • Use spreadsheets to illustrate demand and supply functions, and to solve basic problems of water allocation, pricing, and policy analysis
  • Describe different institutions and legal frameworks for allocating surface and ground water
  • Apply several different techniques for measuring water demand
  • Discuss the economic logic behind the use of water markets, banks and leases for addressing scarcity, as well as the limitations and constraints to their use
  • Describe pricing practices currently being used in municipal and agricultural systems, and suggest ways in which these could be improved (using economic logic).

Prerequisites

Graduate students only. Although the course does not assume any background in economics, it does assume a level of comfort with quantitative approaches. The class will be taught with a moderate amount of elementary calculus. Anyone with one college-level course in calculus should be more than prepared, and I will hold an optional calculus tutorial session at the beginning of the term. Please contact me with questions about the calculus content.

For more information contact Prof. Joe Cook jhcook@u.washington.edu


[Course Announcement]: 

ENGINEERING WASHINGTON: Sustainable Water in a Wet Region

Applications Due Feb 15. (all majors, graduate and undergraduate students welcome)
Apply Here

The Mountain to Sea Initiative at UW is supporting an Education working group. We hope this summer course is the first of many innovative courses bringing a watershed perspective to our classrooms and our students to the watersheds.  Please forward this course description to your colleagues, students, and email listservs. Please forward this course description to your colleagues, students, and email listservs.  For more information, contact Dr. Heidi Gough hgough@uw.edu (lead instructor), or visit the course website 

This year, the University of Washington Freshwater Initiative is offering a unique “study abroad” to the Olympic Peninsula. The value of water is recognized worldwide Even in wet regions, such as the Pacific Northwest, it is important to apply sustainable strategies that recognize the interconnections among water resource, drinking water, and wastewater. It is additionally important to recognize that culture plays a large role in ensuring that decisions match the needs of local communities.

Key Questions

  • How is water all connected as “One Water”?
  • How can different water management sectors work together toward common goals?
  • How would a “One Water” approach impact choices made for wastewater treatment, stormwater management, or drinking water resource management?
  • What would happen if recovered wastewater was used to recharge groundwater?
  • What does an old reservoir bed look like after a dam is removed?
  • How does management of working forests influence water?
  • What does “water” mean to PNW tribes?
  • How do water decisions differ among different communities (small vs. large), native tribes, regional planners, local planners?

Course Summary

This class is NOT taught on campus! Studying away from campus for 1 month in a small group setting, this course will examine the intersection of the water engineering sectors and local decision-making, with a focus on environmental implications of the climate change predictions for temperate rain forest and wet forest regions. The Pacific Northwest will be used as a learning “laboratory”. Students will engage with water professionals and decision makers from public utilities, regional engineering firms, tribal nations, and local/regional government, while simultaneously learning about the technical solutions to water challenges. The intersections among these groups and their view of the water sector will be examined at differing scales (state, city and small town) and from multiple cultural perspectives.

Planned Activities

  • Visiting water/wastewater treatment plant, – engaging with tribal leaders,
  • Eating foods with cultural and regional water importance, – visiting tidal flats,
  • Rain forest hiking,
  • Visiting the Elwha Dam removal site,
  • Rafting, and
  • Whale watching.

For more Information

For more information, contact Dr. Heidi Gough hgough@uw.edu (lead instructor), or visit the course web page