• Class Number 2680
  • Term Code 3030
  • Class Info
  • Unit Value 6 units
  • Mode of Delivery In Person
    • Dr Daniel Connell
    • Dr Daniel Connell
  • Class Dates
  • Class Start Date 24/02/2020
  • Class End Date 05/06/2020
  • Census Date 08/05/2020
  • Last Date to Enrol 02/03/2020
SELT Survey Results

Participants in this course will gain an overview of the wide range of controversies involved in the ‘world water crisis’ and acquire a good understanding of a particular issue that they choose to research in depth. Over the past 10,000 years - the geological period of the Holocene – we have taken advantage of unusually stable climatic conditions to transform what is possible for our species. We tamed animals, developed agriculture, cities and nation states, learned to fly and expanded our numbers from a few million to over seven billion. New water technologies were essential for these changes and most of the world's hydrological systems have been significantly modified to increase our potential to supply food, generate energy, create transport routes and contain risks such as drought and flood. Continued enjoyment of those benefits, however, requires complex and continual human management. We have also disrupted the climate to such an extent that the planet is entering a new geological period, the Anthropocene Age, and many adverse climate change impacts are being experienced through water related events, droughts, floods, shrinking glaciers, rising sea levels, hurricanes and cyclones. The course focuses on the management of modified hydrological systems on a drastically modified planet - rivers, lakes, groundwater aquifers and tidal zones - where the the distribution of costs and benefits reflect political decisions that have serious consequences for the future of nations, communities and individuals. Case studies used in the course will consider trans-formative and disruptive technologies, the politics of cross-border rivers and large deltas, unsustainable groundwater extraction, policy capture by powerful stakeholders, the environmental, cultural and social impacts of water markets, debates about dams and other large water infrastructure, acid mine drainage, arsenic in groundwater,  public participation, gender, environmental refugees, sustainability (what is it?) and the roles of national governments and institutions such as the European Union, the World Bank and the United Nations.

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

On completion of this course, students should be able to:

1.  Understand the technical challenges and political/ethical issues involved in managing modified hydrological systems under development and climate change pressures.

2. Analyse the water related dimensions of related policy spheres such as energy, food production, industrial development, transport etc.

3. Evaluate characteristics, strengths and weaknesses of a range of academic disciplines in their treatment of water related issues.

4. Work in a participatory seminar based educational environment.

Required Resources

Readings will be provided on Wattle

Readings will be provided on the course site on Wattle

Staff Feedback

Students will be given feedback in the following forms in this course:
  • Written comments
  • Verbal comments
  • Feedback to the whole class, to groups, to individuals, focus groups

Student Feedback

ANU is committed to the demonstration of educational excellence and regularly seeks feedback from students. Students are encouraged to offer feedback directly to their Course Convener or through their College and Course representatives (if applicable). The feedback given in these surveys is anonymous and provides the Colleges, University Education Committee and Academic Board with opportunities to recognise excellent teaching, and opportunities for improvement. The Surveys and Evaluation website provides more information on student surveys at ANU and reports on the feedback provided on ANU courses.

Class Schedule

Week/Session Summary of Activities Assessment
1 Tutorial/lecture: The water-human relationship Water is central to life and this is reflected in a variety of ways in all human societies. This opening session will investigate the many and varied ways in which humans relate to water looking first at students’ home societies. We will also critique a wide ranging documentary about the Amazon River to introduce subjects such as water and religion, its role in social and economic development, justice and injustice issues, water related disasters, the impact of dam building and resettlement programs and the increasing impacts of climate change. Each week, in addition to discussing the weekly lecture, students will make presentations and speak to assignments that they have prepared on the subject of that week. During the twelve weeks of the semester each student will complete one presentation and two commentaries. A list of the questions/subjects for the presentations and commentaries will be supplied at the beginning of the semester. (Presentation 10%, two commentary/assignments - each 15%, - 40% overall)
2 Tutorial/lecture: Transformative and disruptive technologies Innovative water technologies made it possible for human populations to dramatically expand over recent centuries and have been essential for the development of cities where more than 50% of the world’s population now live. This session will discuss water technologies in societies such as ancient Rome and China, during the industrial revolution, and now in the struggle to cope with the demands of ongoing economic development and and the impacts of climate change.
3 Tutorial/lecture: Managing modified hydrological systems The growth in the human population over the past ten thousand years has been made possible by our capacity to radically transform hydrological systems (and a few other things) to grow extra food, manage droughts and floods, provide transport routes, generate energy etc. But once modified these systems require complex ongoing intervention and management. This session will discuss the benefits, costs and risks created by the large scale modifications of hydrological systems – particularly in the last hundred years – and examine the unique role of governments in such arrangements.
4 Tutorial/lecture: Dams - their uses and abuses Dams can be used for many purposes but management priorities often conflict. Should dams be kept full to prepare for droughts or empty to capture floods? This session will discuss the different governance strategies used to manage for droughts, floods, water quality, energy generation, water transportation, sediment capture and purging, recreation, tourism, environmental regeneration, fisheries, and adaptation to climate change.
5 Tutorial/lecture: Indigenous peoples dispossessed by water projects Major dams and large scale inter-basin transfers have displaced many millions of people in the name of development and progress. Disproportionately poor and Indigenous peoples have had to pay most of the costs (often while others elsewhere gain most of the benefits). This session will explore the issues involved through a series of case studies and also by discussing the resettlement issues explored in ‘Drowned Out’ a DVD which examines a large scale dam project implemented on India’s Narmada River in the 1990s and early 2000s.
6 Tutorial/lecture: River rehabilitation/rewilding How can management and infrastructure along river corridors be changed to better cope with climate change, promote fish and bird breeding, absorb floods and create a better quality of life for people living nearby? In many countries dams are being decommissioned, floodplains widened and something like the seasonal patterns of flows restored to improve riverine environments and ecosystems. This reflects growing acceptance that rivers have other functions and important relationships with humans, beyond just providing water, navigation, supplying electric power plants, and carrying away waste and sewage.
7 Tutorial/lecture: Water related disasters The links between water and humans create many dependencies and vulnerabilities with great potential for disruption. In addition, water in its various forms is a significant factor in many disasters, droughts, floods, storms, pollution events, disease epidemics etc. This session examines the many ways in which humans have attempted to manage this complex relationship.
8 Tutorial/lecture: Gender and water justice Gender issues related to water are widely acknowledged but in practice usually ignored. Water policies tend to focus on male dominated activities such as irrigation as opposed to traditional female spheres such as domestic and family water use. But many of the most important development goals developed by the United Nations to reduce poverty and improve human well being world-wide involve improving women’s access to good quality water and the need for protection from water related risks. Given the difficult legacy of history how should we promote change?
9 Tutorial/lecture: Nexus between water, food and energy There is a high degree of inter-changeability and inter-dependence between water, food and energy resources. Importing food is an effective way of transporting water. Coal and nuclear power plants can be crippled in times of drought. Management of one without attention to the others can lead to severe negative consequences. Skilled management of the nexus between the three is essential for effective adaptation to climate change.
10 Tutorial/lecture: Water markets, payments for environmental services Water markets and payments for ecosystem services have been established in many countries with great variation in their aims and design. This session will examine water markets and PES schemes in Australia, the United States, Europe, China, Latin America, and elsewhere. What are the necessary pre-conditions for effective water markets and PES schemes? What are their limitations? Are there negative impacts and consequences?
11 Tutorial/lecture: NGOs and public participation Water management systems are frequently dominated by a small number of powerful stakeholders with other groups excluded. In a number of countries governments are empowering NGOs to bring about change. But how positive is the role of NGOs? Who decides on their priorities and strategies? Where do they get their funds and are there strings attached? How should international NGOs relate to local NGOs and local cultures? Should NGOs work with governments or against them?
12 Tutorial/lecture: Managing Conflicts Water wars are unlikely because conflicts related to water issues rarely take a form that can be resolved by a military attack. Instead pressures related to water more usually act as stress multipliers compounding with other pressures to create situations where people are desperate but it is not clear who or what is to blame. This session will examine a range of approaches that are being developed to reduce conflicts and adapt to development pressures and climate change.

Assessment Summary

Assessment task Value Due Date Return of assessment Learning Outcomes
Presentation 10 % * * 4
Commentary 30 % * * 2
Research Essay - Possible questions and topics will be made available in the first week of the course. Marking criteria will be discussed in the second week. 25 % 13/04/2020 04/05/2020 3
Course Journal 30 % 01/06/2020 02/07/2020 1
Participation 5 % 29/05/2020 15/06/2020 4

* If the Due Date and Return of Assessment date are blank, see the Assessment Tab for specific Assessment Task details


ANU has educational policies, procedures and guidelines, which are designed to ensure that staff and students are aware of the University’s academic standards, and implement them. Students are expected to have read the Academic Misconduct Rule before the commencement of their course. Other key policies and guidelines include:

Assessment Requirements

The ANU is using Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website Students may choose not to submit assessment items through Turnitin. In this instance you will be required to submit, alongside the assessment item itself, hard copies of all references included in the assessment item.

Moderation of Assessment

Marks that are allocated during Semester are to be considered provisional until formalised by the College examiners meeting at the end of each Semester. If appropriate, some moderation of marks might be applied prior to final results being released.

Assessment Task 1

Value: 10 %
Learning Outcomes: 4


Each student will make a presentation sometime during the semester. Topics for presentations will be selected by students from a common list which will also be used for the two commentaries and the essays. Topics for the four assignments - presentation, two commentaries and essay - will need to be from four different weeks. To ensure an even distribution of presentations over the eleven weeks (after the first week) some students may be asked to switch topics. Students who are slow to make their initial selection are the most likely to be asked to select a second option.

Presentations should be submitted the day before delivery (so planning for the lecture/tutorial session next day can take them into account).

DUE DATE: Presentation due on the week of the chosen subject (One day before class)

RETURN OF ASSESSMENT DATE: Marks will be provided two weeks from submission starting from the beginning of the course.

Assessment Task 2

Value: 30 %
Learning Outcomes: 2


Students will undertake two commentaries - which they will discuss in class to supplement the presentations by other students - at some time in the semester. The list of possible topics will be provided at the beginning of the semester. Commentaries will need to be submitted the day before the relevant session.

DUE DATE: Commentaries are due in the week of the chosen subject (One day before class)

RETURN OF ASSESSMENT DATE: Marks will be provided two weeks from submission starting from the beginning of the course.

Assessment Task 3

Value: 25 %
Due Date: 13/04/2020
Return of Assessment: 04/05/2020
Learning Outcomes: 3

Research Essay - Possible questions and topics will be made available in the first week of the course. Marking criteria will be discussed in the second week.

The 2500 word research essay will be due on the Monday after the mid-semester break.

Assessment Task 4

Value: 30 %
Due Date: 01/06/2020
Return of Assessment: 02/07/2020
Learning Outcomes: 1

Course Journal

Students will summarize the main themes of each of the twelve course sessions and reflect on key issues taking into account the readings and discussions in class. This will include comments about discussion in the sub-groups which are an important part of the course activities.

Each week 250-300 words (Total 3600 words) Due end of semester

Assessment Task 5

Value: 5 %
Due Date: 29/05/2020
Return of Assessment: 15/06/2020
Learning Outcomes: 4


Interaction/discussion about ideas is the central learning methodology for the course. If a student is present in the class room or online tutorial the organisation of activities by the course coordinator will ensure that they interact with their colleagues. If they are absent from class or the online tutorial the extent of their interaction is likely to be very low (zero). Students with a very low participation level (zero) for a given session will be penalized by the loss of 1% for that week (to a maximun loss of 5% over the course).

Academic Integrity

Academic integrity is a core part of our culture as a community of scholars. At its heart, academic integrity is about behaving ethically. This means that all members of the community commit to honest and responsible scholarly practice and to upholding these values with respect and fairness. The Australian National University commits to embedding the values of academic integrity in our teaching and learning. We ensure that all members of our community understand how to engage in academic work in ways that are consistent with, and actively support academic integrity. The ANU expects staff and students to uphold high standards of academic integrity and act ethically and honestly, to ensure the quality and value of the qualification that you will graduate with. The University has policies and procedures in place to promote academic integrity and manage academic misconduct. Visit the following Academic honesty & plagiarism website for more information about academic integrity and what the ANU considers academic misconduct. The ANU offers a number of services to assist students with their assignments, examinations, and other learning activities. The Academic Skills and Learning Centre offers a number of workshops and seminars that you may find useful for your studies.

Online Submission

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.

Hardcopy Submission

For some forms of assessment (hand written assignments, art works, laboratory notes, etc.) hard copy submission is appropriate when approved by the Associate Dean (Education). Hard copy submissions must utilise the Assignment Cover Sheet. Please keep a copy of tasks completed for your records.

Late Submission

Late submission of assessment tasks without an extension are penalised at the rate of 5% of the possible marks available per working day or part thereof. Late submission of assessment tasks is not accepted after 10 working days after the due date, or on or after the date specified in the course outline for the return of the assessment item. Late submission is not accepted for take-home examinations.

Referencing Requirements

Accepted academic practice for referencing sources that you use in presentations can be found via the links on the Wattle site, under the file named “ANU and College Policies, Program Information, Student Support Services and Assessment”. Alternatively, you can seek help through the Students Learning Development website.

Extensions and Penalties

Extensions and late submission of assessment pieces are covered by the Student Assessment (Coursework) Policy and Procedure The Course Convener may grant extensions for assessment pieces that are not examinations or take-home examinations. If you need an extension, you must request an extension in writing on or before the due date. If you have documented and appropriate medical evidence that demonstrates you were not able to request an extension on or before the due date, you may be able to request it after the due date.

Privacy Notice

The ANU has made a number of third party, online, databases available for students to use. Use of each online database is conditional on student end users first agreeing to the database licensor’s terms of service and/or privacy policy. Students should read these carefully. In some cases student end users will be required to register an account with the database licensor and submit personal information, including their: first name; last name; ANU email address; and other information. In cases where student end users are asked to submit ‘content’ to a database, such as an assignment or short answers, the database licensor may only use the student’s ‘content’ in accordance with the terms of service — including any (copyright) licence the student grants to the database licensor. Any personal information or content a student submits may be stored by the licensor, potentially offshore, and will be used to process the database service in accordance with the licensors terms of service and/or privacy policy. If any student chooses not to agree to the database licensor’s terms of service or privacy policy, the student will not be able to access and use the database. In these circumstances students should contact their lecturer to enquire about alternative arrangements that are available.

Distribution of grades policy

Academic Quality Assurance Committee monitors the performance of students, including attrition, further study and employment rates and grade distribution, and College reports on quality assurance processes for assessment activities, including alignment with national and international disciplinary and interdisciplinary standards, as well as qualification type learning outcomes. Since first semester 1994, ANU uses a grading scale for all courses. This grading scale is used by all academic areas of the University.

Support for students

The University offers students support through several different services. You may contact the services listed below directly or seek advice from your Course Convener, Student Administrators, or your College and Course representatives (if applicable).
Dr Daniel Connell
6125 7556

Research Interests

Dr Daniel Connell works at the Crawford School of Public Policy in the Australian National University, Canberra. His research focusses on governance issues related to modified hydrological systems that cross borders – both international and within multi-level political systems such as Australia, the United States, the European Union, China, India, South Africa and Brazil. Subjects of interest include different approaches to promoting culture change and water reform, the management of conflict between stakeholders, environmental justice, public participation, gender, institutional design, water markets, groundwater management, forced migration, development impacts on Indigenous peoples, water transfers between catchments and across borders, and the policy challenges of climate change. He also supervises PhD students working on environmental and natural resource management issues in Australia and Asia and teaches postgraduate courses dealing with water conflicts, complex environmental issues, and eco-cultural tourism.

Dr Daniel Connell

Wednesday 09:00 12:00
Wednesday 09:00 12:00
Dr Daniel Connell
6125 7556

Research Interests

Dr Daniel Connell

Wednesday 09:00 12:00
Wednesday 09:00 12:00

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