Washington Center

The Politics of Water Policy

Term or Semester: 
Day and Time: 
Tuesdays, 6:30 p.m. to 9:30 p.m.
Quarter Dates: 
January 8 - March 12, 2019
Course Number: 
UCLA Sponsored: Political Science 146E
Quarter Elective

As the title suggests, this course is about one of the trenchant policy problems of our time, policy regarding the availability, uses, and distribution of water, particularly in arid parts of the world.  Though the focus of the class will be the American West (west of the 100th meridian), I will bring into discussion—and invite discussion—about water policy dynamics in other parts of the world, such as Africa and Australia, where there exists conflict or potential for conflict over riparian rights. This class will take 3 different cuts at water policy, organized around the frames of politics (including and especially the role of interest groups), organization, and technology.  We will learn about the history and logic behind the major policies in place for most of the past hundred years, what incentives were created under those policies, and how various interests with stakes in maintaining or changing aspects of water policy constrain or create openings for change.  We will spend some time discussing some of the more significant actors involved in water policy, such as the Bureau of Reclamation and the US Army Corps of Engineers, organizational actors that have shaped our current world.  And no class on water policy would be complete without a discussion of the technological possibilities for helping us navigate our way out of crisis, through new methods of conservation, water desalinization, waste water recycling, etc.  What is the potential for technology in this domain?


Draft Syllabus

Course ID: