20 Jun 2009

Bleg: Learning Water Management

A reader asks:
I am particularly interested in water economics. Does Berkeley offer a water management program and if so, does it include water economics? If not, do you know any programs that offer that coursework?
I am not sure about a masters degree in water management. Is that something that you can learn in business school?

I think that such a course should include classes from economics, engineering, business, sociology, law, etc.

Can readers recommend courses at schools?


  1. Interesting question, I have been pondering the same since i started working in the "water business" two years ago. I work for the watershed management department of a southeastern City.

    While I have multiple college degrees (engineering, computer science & an MBA), I have realized that the Water/Wastewater business is thoroughly dominated by civil engineers.

    Anyways, the short answer to the question is NO!, there does not seem to be a water/wastewater management program that ties in all the components (engineering, finance, public policy). Even, within the business, these functions are performed by "specialists". There is no inter-disciplinary thought process involved.

    A potential solution may be to "self-create" rotational programs within the various segments(operations, engineering/design, finance, strategic planning, policy- a catchall for all the govt./public policy issues).

    Interestingly, this lack of programs may be because of a lack of demand driven by two things - specialization (as previously mentioned) and "fossilization" - people in this business stick around doing the same thing for 30-40 years! if you are young and ambitious, you get bored and move on to other things. There is also a demographic challenge in the business. There are very few civil engineers graduating these days in the USA and most of them would rather become consultants (that's a separate topic i suppose).

  2. http://cee.engr.ucdavis.edu/Graduate/WaterResources/waterGS.htm

    is the closest thing I know. (I'm a Davis ugrad.) Though I guess water management is only a part of the whole thing.

  3. I would think most decent Ag & Resource Econ programs would permit a focus in water resource mgmt as part of a masters degree, but there may be schools that do it through a mgmt program in the Business school. The Univ. of Arizona, in Tucson, offers an undergrad degree in Enviro and Water Resource Econ as well as a certificate in Water Policy, but they also have some very good profs in Ag & Res Econ who focus their research on water resource mgmt (i.e. Bonnie Colby).

  4. Fresno State developing water resource management masters degree


  5. Oxford has a one-year masters program (coursework) that includes water economics: http://www.geog.ox.ac.uk/graduate/msc-wspm/structure.html

  6. Berkeley teaches EEP 162, Environ. Econ and Policy 162, which is water resource econ. Taught by prof hanemann, usually in the spring. I have been the GSI for the pat two times.

  7. Yale School of Forestry & Environmental Studies offers a two-year Masters of Environmental Management (MEM) degree with a concentration in Water Science, Management and Policy. It is an interdisciplinary program, requiring coursework in the sciences, statistics, economics, etc. In addition, Yale offers joint degree programs (usu. 3-years) in which you can receive a MEM and MBA or MEM and Engineering Masters (among other joint programs). Yale, quote obviously, has amazing professors, including Shiela Olmstead and Erin Mansour who teach water economics courses.

    Duke Nicholas School, as well as U. of Michigan, offer similar top notch programs in Environmental Management.

    I received an MEM in the above mentioned Yale program and currently work for a non-profit on water management projects in CA and internationally. I would be more than willing to answer any questions anyone may have.

  8. I can second Kara, I finished an MEM degree at the Yale School of Forestry and moved into water management a few years ago. It's a strong program that offers quite a bit of flexibility.

    Oregon State University offers a graduate degree in Water Resources Policy and Management here in the Pacific Northwest. I've worked with several of their faculty and students and, from what I've seen, they have a great program.

  9. MR (via H-Net)28 Jun 2009, 00:31:00

    Few universities have a department of water resources or anything remotely like it. However, the University of Arizona has a department of hydrology and water resources at its Udall Center. The department is definitely interdisciplinary and includes experts in both the physical and social sciences. Several other universities have hydrology programs that are interdisciplinary (as, indeed, hydrology must be). Still, in those cases the focus is usually on engineering expertise. In other words, the programs often concentrate on applied hydrology rather than on scientific and theoretical hydrology. Harvard in the late 1950s and 1960s initiated a Harvard Water Program that was strongly interdisciplinary and was meant, among other things, to find ways to marry computers with multiobjective planning. The program no longer exists. Some of the schools with distinguished hydrology programs are UC Berkeley, Stanford, University of Minnesota, University of Iowa, University of Illinois, Carnegie-Mellon, and MIT. Finally, you should not forget government efforts to advance interdisciplinary work. Probably the best example of this is the Institute for Water Resources of the Army Corps of Engineers. Founded in 1969 and still thriving, it provides the Corps (and others in and out of the academic community) with objective and independent evaluations of various water resource programs and issues. The Institute includes Ph.D.'s from numerous professions and disciplines, including engineering, geography, political science, sociology, and urban planning. It also awards fellowships to distinguished academic and other professionals to spend a year at the Institute to work on problems of mutual interest and maintains close links with academic institutions and professional organizations.

  10. Oregon State offers a Master's in Water Policy and Management which includes science, economics, and policy.

  11. Are there any water management programs in the DC area?

  12. See UW Milwaukee's Freshwater Institute: http://www.glwi.uwm.edu/

  13. I'm surprised that no one has mentioned the University of Wisconsin - Madison's Water Resource Management program:

    "The Water Resources Management Program (WRM) is an interdisciplinary graduate program leading to a master of science (M.S.) degree in water resources management. The program addresses the complex, interdisciplinary aspects of managing resources by helping students integrate the biological and physical sciences (which identify and measure problems) with engineering (which defines technological alternatives) and law and the social sciences (which assess needs and potential for institutional response)."


    In addition, the Bren School at UC Santa Barbara has an MEM program where you can focus on water. It's a little less interdisciplinary than Wisconsin's, if I recall.

  14. Dundee University in Scotland offers an 18 months full-time Executive MBA in International Water Management. For more information, see http://www.dundee.ac.uk/cepmlp/academic/FT-MBA-Water%20Mgt.php

  15. Indeed, we do offer water management courses, including an MBA. See http://www.dundee.ac.uk/water/courses/ for details. Daniel Gilbert


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