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Module 3: Water – Scarcity, Contamination, Conservation

Ecologise has consistently driven home that humanity needs to prepare for unprecedented environmental, economic and socio-political upheaval and uncertainty in the 21st century. In this new series, we showcase free short-duration online courses that focus on these various emerging crises and possible responses. Created by the world’s leading universities, they offer a good starting point to explore these complex challenges.

Note: The courses listed below have been selected from a large and growing list of free online courses, aimed at learners of all levels, and available in various formats. We urge the reader to explore the various options on offer online before selecting one that suits you.

Free online courses to understand the key challenges of our times

Module 3: Water – Scarcity, Contamination, Conservation

Elixir: A History of Water and Humans
Created and hosted by: Udemy
Taught by: Brian Fagan

Water tells the story of changing human relationships with water over the past 10,000 years and tries to answer some basic questions:
*How have human attitudes to water changed since people first began to manage their water supplies?
*What major events in the past have defined our present relationship to water, not as something revered, but treated as an anonymous commodity?
*Why are we now facing a global water crisis and what are prospects for the future?
This is the story of gravity and human ingenuity, of irrigation and aqueducts, of humble farming villages, ancient cities, and the rise and fall of civilizations. We draw on archaeology and hydrology, on anthropology and ancient oral traditions, on classical literature and Islamic agriculture—on a broad array of scientific inquiries in many languages and in all parts of the world. Taking this course will make you look at water in an entirely new way. View details

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Introduction to Water and Climate 
Created by: Delft University of Technology
Hosted by: edX
Taught by: Nick van de Giesen, Herman Russchenberg, Hubert Savenije, Marcel Stive and Caroline Katsman

Water is a crucial element in climate and for society. Find out about the latest engineering interventions for water management in rivers, coasts and the urban environment. What you’ll learn:
*The different processes of the global water cycle
*The challenges in better understanding and adapting to the impact of climate change on water for the coming 50 years
*The flows of water and sand in different riverine, coastal and ocean systems
*How to identify mechanisms of climate change and explain the interplay of climate change, sea level, clouds, rainfall and future weather
*Why, when and which engineering interventions are needed in rivers, coasts and urban environments
*Why water for food and water for cities are the main challenges in water management and what the possibilities and limitations of reservoirs and groundwater are to improve water availability. View details 

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Water: Scarcity and Response 
Created by: Colorado State University
Hosted by: Future Learn
Taught by: Glenn Patterson

What happens when water runs out, and why does it occur? How can we ensure an adequate fresh water supply for all? These are some of the questions you will ask and answer on this course. You will examine the dual nature of water scarcity, first examining reasons for diminishing supplies, like growing human populations, climate, lifestyle, poor water management, and poor governance. You will then learn about the conflicts that arise over water, and most importantly you will learn what can be done to ensure adequate supplies for people and nature. View details

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Water Resources Management and Policy
Created by: University of Geneva
Hosted by: Coursera.com
Taught by: Dr. Christian Bréthaut & Géraldine Pflieger

The objective of this course is to develop an understanding of the problems related to water management. Firstly, this course will define a resource and, more specifically, the resource of water. It will look at how water is used and the activities associated with it as well as any potential conflicts. The course will look at water management in detail through the analysis of the different types of rights and obligations associated with, for example, the development of a multi-sectorial regulation system or a watershed management approach. View details

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Permaculture Design for Conserving Water
Created by Toby Hemenway
Hosted by Udemy

This course introduces the ecological design approach known as permaculture and shows how it can be used to create water-wise landscapes in dry climates. Permaculture combines concepts and principles derived from nature with research from ecology and sustainability fields to help design healthy landscapes, homes, and communities that reduce resource use, are low-maintenance, and are self-renewing. You will learn about specific techniques that work in a dry climate, and gain a general understanding of permaculture design and application. View details

Free online courses to understand the key challenges of our times
Module 1: Climate Change – Challenges and Solutions  

Module 2: Energy – Fossil Fuels And Our Future



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