Spring 2017 - 61465 - PA388K - Advanced Topics in Public Policy
Texas Water Policy
The purpose of this course is to introduce graduate students to water resources in the context of Texas’ efforts to manage its surface and groundwater quantity and quality. As the class will be offered during Spring 2017 when the Texas Legislature is in session, class members will take advantage of opportunities to learn about water issues, experience water politics in practice, and well as observe water infrastructure and management in the field. A person completing this course will:
* Understand the sources and uses of water in Texas, as well as the laws, regulations, planning and financing practices employed to allocate surface and groundwater among users;
* Be familiar with the technologies that allow Texas to obtain, move, distribute, treat, reuse and dispose of water and wastewaters as well as the laws, regulations and planning practices employed to manage water use and quality assurance;
* Learn about Texas coastal zone, estuarine, and in-stream ecological resources and management of those water resources and ecological communities, and
* Be comfortable with using administrative, legislative, judicial, and public outreach processes to address water policy issues and conflicts.
This course introduces graduate students to a series of Texas water management issues, including: sources and uses of water; water data sources and acquisition methods; quantity issues associated with surface, groundwater and reused water; watershed management for rivers, lakes and estuaries; water quality management of surface and ground waters; water storage in dams, reservoirs, acquifers or impoundments; drinking water treatment and distribution; wastewater collection and treatment; water planning and finance in Texas; the role of federal, state, regional and local institutions in water management and water conflicts; transboundary water management between Texas and other US states and Mexico; management of extreme water events, such as droughts, floods, climate change and emergency preparedness.
There will be three parallel components of this course: in-class instruction; field study; and legislative /agency/policy participation. Each student will be expected to develop a water policy-related proposal/paper/evaluation to improve water management. A student will have flexibility to propose what she/he wishes as a course paper deliverable, but that product must be related to policy, and seeking to accomplish something in the real world. The deliverable could report on some water policy issue or develop a recommendation for some water policy changes. It could evaluate the consequences of a proposed piece of legislation. There are many options, limited only by a student’s creativity.
Students will spend two hours in class and three hours outside of class each week (comparable to a ‘lab session’), alternating (a) in the field and (b) either at the Texas Legislature or within a water management agency, a non-profit organization or a for-profit firm.
The course will enable students to see water resources management “in action.” Every two weeks the class will travel on a field trip. In the intervening weeks, or at times established with a particular counterpart water institution at which the student will affiliated. Students will work on applied projects that will constitute the student’s product from the class.
See attached document below for more information.