Managing Sustainable Water Environments: Policy and Practice GEOG5115

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Geographical and Earth Sciences
  • Credits: 10
  • Level: Level 5 (SCQF level 11)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 1
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

This course provides an introduction to the regulatory, policy and practice context within which water systems are managed and to which water system science contributes. The course will introduce high level principles and context and will then examine these through two case study blocks. Students will gain first hand practice at creating a policy briefing on issues of current relevance. They will also look at an additional topic and provide a lay summary, for example a blog or podcast. This will help student's employability through their understanding of policy context and the science-policy interface, and by them gaining experience in crafting concise evidence-based briefings for policy, practice and lay audiences.


Usually 2* 1 hour lectures/seminars will be delivered weekly over 5 weeks

Requirements of Entry

Normally, this course is only available to students enrolled on the MSc in Sustainable Water Systems programme

Excluded Courses



Written assignment is a blog post or podcast that summarises the student's policy briefing for a lay audience (30%).

Report is a 2000 word (plus references) POST note style policy briefing or best practise guidance which is a concise, state of science style evidence based review. These are commissioned by the government typically to help convey scientific evidence on a topic in a digestible format for policy makers and practitioners (70%).

Course Aims

■ To provide students with an understanding of the principles governing sustainable water environments management.

■ To introduce approaches to sustainable water environments management in the context of regulatory, geopolitical, and socio-economic constraints.

■ To gain appreciation of the challenges of sustaining water environments in a time of global challenges such as rapid environmental change.

■ To examine existing knowledge of the two-way linkages between science, policy and water environment management practice through the use of case studies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

By the end of this course students will be able to:

■ Evaluate international, EU and UK water systems management legislation and regulation.

■ Critically assess the adaptation challenges for water systems management that are required nationally and internationally in a changing climate.

■ Appreciate the challenges and opportunities associated with navigating the science-policy-practice interface.

■ Discuss strategies for sustainable water management over different space and time scales to improve the resiliency of socio-ecological and socio-geomorphological systems.

■ Critically evaluate the literature using a systematic-style review and write a policy brief.

Minimum Requirement for Award of Credits

Students must submit at least 75% by weight of the components (including examinations) of the course's summative assessment.