From 2 November 2020, the autumn semester 2020 will take place online. Exceptions: Courses that can only be carried out with on-site presence. Please note the information provided by the lecturers via e-mail.

860-0012-00L  Cooperation and Conflict Over International Water Resources

SemesterSpring Semester 2020
LecturersB. Wehrli, T. Bernauer, T. U. Siegfried
Periodicityyearly recurring course
Language of instructionEnglish
CommentNumber of participants limited to 40.
STP students have priority.

This is a research seminar at the Master level. PhD students are also welcome.


AbstractThis seminar focuses on the technical, economic, and political challenges of dealing with water allocation and pollution problems in large international river systems. It examines ways and means through which such challenges are addressed, and when and why international efforts in this respect succeed or fail.
ObjectiveAbility to (1) understand the causes and consequences of water scarcity and water pollution problems in large international river systems; (2) understand ways and means of addressing such water challenges; and (3) analyse when and why international efforts in this respect succeed or fail.
ContentBased on lectures and discussion of scientific papers and reports, students acquire basic knowledge on contentious issues in managing international water resources, on the determinants of cooperation and conflict over international water issues, and on ways and means of mitigating conflict and promoting cooperation. Students will then, in small teams coached by the instructors, carry out research on a case of their choice (i.e. an international river basin where riparian countries are trying to find solutions to water allocation and/or water quality problems associated with a large dam project). They will write a brief paper and present their findings towards the end of the semester.
Lecture notesSlides and reading materials will be distributed electronically.
LiteratureThe UN World Water Development Reports provide a broad overview of the topic: http://www.unesco.org/new/en/natural-sciences/environment/water/wwap/
Prerequisites / NoticeThe course is open to Master and PhD students from any area of ETH.

ISTP students who take this course should also register for the course 860-0012-01L - Cooperation and conflict over international water resources; In-depth case study.