For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Water Science and Society Instructor Materials. If you would like your students to have access to the student materials, we suggest you either point them at the Student Version which omits the framing pages with information designed for faculty (and this box). Or you can download these pages in several formats that you can include in your course website or local Learning Managment System. Learn more about using, modifying, and sharing InTeGrate teaching materials.
Module 8.2: Cities in Peril: Future climate change, population growth, and water issues
As has been discussed throughout this course, the relationship between humans and water resources has a long and complicated history. Water has played a central role in how and where human civilizations have developed. Proximity to high quality, reliable water sources provides a firm foundation for a thriving society. Societies that have established near unreliable or unpredictable water sources that may dry up during droughts and/or flood unexpectedly and uncontrollably) have struggled and occasionally suffered catastrophic losses. In other cases, societies have suffered more chronic problems of water quality. Advances in engineering have greatly improved accessibility and reliability of water resources, to an extent that is difficult to overstate. In some cases, however, a combination of highly effective engineering and risky (or ill-informed) decision-making has created some sketchy and unsustainable situations, as discussed in the first half of this module. What does the future hold? How, when and where might the legacy of our past decisions cause us severe problems in the future? What new problems might we anticipate as a result of climate change and population growth? Will technology save us? Or will more ecosystem-focused planning provide a more resilient water future for humans? How much of Earth's water should humans feel entitled to? How much should be left for nature? These are some of the questions we'll address in part 2 of this module.