For the InstructorThese student materials complement the Water, Agriculture, Sustainability 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.
Unit 1: What is Sustainability in the Context of Water?
In this unit, you will be prompted to:
- assess the case for a global water crisis and its relevance in America;
- expand your understanding of sustainability as a contestable concept and movement;
- consider water resource management objectives through the lens of sustainability; and
- analyze region-specific examples of unsustainable use of water for agriculture.
In so doing, you will advance in achievement of Module Learning Goal 1: Students will explain how fresh water availability and management practices pose threats to ecosystem integrity, human well-being, and agricultural production.
This unit is divided into 3 sub-units. Each one is designed to take a full one hour class day.
Unit 1.1 - Are We Sliding into a Water Crisis?
Are we in the midst of a water crisis? Is the global situation improving or deteriorating? What are the big issues? This unit delves into these matters and provides the primary justification for having a module devoted to water sustainability. To prepare you to engage in these matters, you should do the following "readings" prior to the first class of the module, all of which look at water from a global perspective. The word readings is in quotes above as one of the links leads simply to a short list of statistics and another leads to a short video.
Here is a reading assignment for Unit 1.1. Your instructor may modify this.
- Water Partners International (2016). Facts about Water and Sanitation. Water Partners International. http://water.org/water-crisis/water-sanitation-facts/.
- Connor, R, Talafre, J, Hasan, E and Abolina, E (2015). Unsustainable Growth, inThe United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. World Water Assessment Programme, UNESCO. http://unesdoc.unesco.org/images/0023/002318/231823E.pdf Pp. 1-14.
- Fry, A, Martin, R, Haden, E and Martin, M (2009). Water Facts and Trends. World Business Council for Sustainable Development. 16p.
- Water.Org (2010). River Water Harvesting in Ethiopia. YouTube.
Your instructor may also assign an online discussion around these readings. Look to your instructor for guidance on that possibility.
The in-class activity of this sub-unit will prompt you and your classmates, working in small groups, to review a series of water statistics. Specifically, you will be asked to do the following:
- Identify a common theme for your water statistics.
- Decide which statistics you think are most important to share with the rest of the class.
- Collaborate in making a poster that illustrates the story or stories you wish to tell with these statistics.
- Make graphical representations of the quantitative data. Provide each graph or figure with a title and a caption. Cite the source of the information.
In working through this exercise, you will be better able to evaluate the degree to which we are facing a global water crisis. Although the instructor will provide the materials you need to complete this activity, you can peruse the guidance and statistics in advance of the class by downloading the following document.
- Student Handout for Activity 1.1b: Group Work on Water Statistics (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 38kB Aug21 23)
Unit 1.2 - What is Sustainability in the Context of Water?
If our working presumption is that we want to foster a future with more sustainable water resource management, then we need to get some clarity on what is meant by sustainable, sustainability, and sustainable development. This sub-unit provides an introduction to the concepts of sustainability and relates them to water resource management.
To prepare you to engage in these matters, you should do the following readings prior to the class of Unit 1.2.
- Hoopes, D (2004). Sacred Water. Fisheries Magazine, Vol. 29(5), 5p. Sacred Water (Acrobat (PDF) 77kB Jun23 15)
- Gleick, P, Gomez, S, Loh, P, and Morrison, J (1995). Ch. 3 Water and Sustainability, in California Water 2020: A Sustainable Vision. Pacific Institute. Pp. 23-28.
[NOTE - this article is a key one and you will refer to it in subsequent units of the module!]
Your instructor may well assign an online discussion around these readings. Look to your instructor for guidance on that possibility.
The in-class activity of this sub-unit will prompt you and your classmates, again working in small groups, to review a series of definitions for sustainability and sustainable development. Critical themes of the sustainability and sustainable development concepts will be revealed by identifying common (and differing) elements in the various definitions. Your instructor will provide the guidance necessary to complete the activity, but you can peruse the handout to you will receive for this activity by downloading the following document. Which definitions appeal most to you?
- Student Handout for Activity 1.2b: Evaluate Definitions of Sustainability and Sustainable Development (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 142kB Jan23 17)
Unit 1.3 - Case Studies in Unsustainable Water Use in Agriculture
In this unit we turn our attention to agriculture and its impacts on water resources. As you can gather from the title of this subunit, the focus will be on instances where water use for the sake of agriculture has caused significant problems. Unsustainable water use in agriculture is distressingly common, but just what is it about the interactions between water and agriculture that make them unsustainable? To get a broader sense of the problems, the class for this subunit will revolve around small group analyses of a set of readings featuring region-specific cases of unsustainable water practices. Each student will be assigned one of 5 readings. Comparing the specific problems detailed in the 5 readings should help you advance in achievement of the following learning objectives:
- Students will be able to explain how fresh water availability and management practices pose threats to ecosystem integrity, human well-being, security, and agricultural production.
- Students will be able to use sustainability criteria to identify what is unsustainable in case studies of water resource management.
To prepare you to engage in these analyses, download and work through the homework assignment below.
- Student Handout for Activity 1.3a: Homework and Reading Assignment on Case Studies in Water Unsustainability (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 109kB Aug21 23)
Note that beyond identifying your reading assignment, the homework guidance document also has thinking question prompts. Be prepared to share your responses to those question prompts in class.
The in-class activity of this sub-unit will prompt you and your classmates, again working in small groups, to analyze the readings for the day. First, the class will be divided into groups with students that have had the same reading for the day. Each of these groups will be challenged to come to some collective consensus on the water resource problems detailed in their article. Groups will also be prompted to evaluate how the agricultural practices and the associated use of water in their article failed to meet the sustainability criteria outlined by Gleick (1998). Then, you will be shuffled into new groups so that each group has a representative for each of the 5 articles. After you outline how water use in agriculture is not sustainable in your article, and your group mates do the same, you will collectively be challenged to identify the common problems between your articles and then come up with some possible suggestions to promote water sustainability in agriculture.
The document below provides the handout that directs Activity 1.3b.
- Student Handout for 1.3b - Group Analysis of Case Studies in Water Unsustainability (Microsoft Word 2007 (.docx) 97kB Jan23 17)
When this activity wraps up, you will have completed Unit 1 of the module.
On to Unit 2!