Free Online Course Offers in Depth Look at Water in the West

Why is water at the heart of so much conflict in the American West? How have major cities and extensive agricultural systems been able to thrive despite most of the region being either a desert or semi-desert environment? How will a warming climate affect the availability and use of water in a region populated by tens of millions of people?

Join “Water in the Western United States,” a free, Massive Open Online Course (MOOC) featuring leading University of Colorado Boulder scientists who will provide an overview of the science behind water and climate. In addition, they will discuss the major legal, political, and cultural issues focused on this precious resource.

The MOOC is produced by the Cooperative Institute for Research in Environmental Sciences through its Western Water Assessment program, and it features videos from the Learn More About Climate-sponsored video webinar “Water In The West: Challenges for the Colorado River Basin.” The 90-minute webinar featured in the course can be viewed in its entirety or in short selections addressing specific topics on the Learn More About Climate website.

For those living in the region, the MOOC will provide a fascinating look at how water gets to your tap; for those from elsewhere in the world, the MOOC’s focus on the Interior West provides an interesting case study in management of a scarce resource. Educators can earn professional development credit.

The course will be taught by Dr. Anne Gold and Dr. Eric Gordon and it will consist of short lecture videos between 10 and 15 minutes in length featuring a wide range of experts. Anyone can take the course online through the Coursera platform.


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