Global Sustainable Development (Dumfries campus) MA

Water resources policy and governance DUMF4047

  • Academic Session: 2023-24
  • School: School of Interdisciplinary Studies
  • Credits: 20
  • Level: Level 4 (SCQF level 10)
  • Typically Offered: Semester 2
  • Available to Visiting Students: Yes

Short Description

The course explores the causes and consequences of water scarcity, pollution and inequality of water resources in the global North and the global South. It examines policies that have been formulated to address them and the constraints in their implementation. Economic, social and environmental impacts and the interdependences between the water, energy, agriculture and environment sectors are considered, as are the public, private and civil organisations needed to address them. Water security from a non-traditional viewpoint is explored and how the discourse on water has changed with time due to economic development, population growth, urbanisation, resource scarcity and pollution, as well as climate change. The course will take an application-oriented approach through local, national and international case studies that explore lessons learned.


2-3 hrs per week of lectures/seminars on one day a week.

Excluded Courses





■ Group debates (3-4 students per group; 40%) - Debates of an economic, social or environmental problem in urban areas - which is related to water scarcity or pollution - and the relevant policies and governance decisions implemented by either the water, energy, agriculture or environment sectors. The debate will be assessed on a group, personal and possibly peer basis - the weightings to be agreed with the cohort each year when the assessment is presented. [ILOs 1, 2,3 and 4]

■ Individual essay of 2500 words (60%) - Case study that considers the implementation of water policies and their impacts on other sectors (energy, agriculture, environment) as well as society. [ILOs 1, 3, 4 and 5]

Are reassessment opportunities available for all summative assessments? Not applicable for Honours courses

Reassessments are normally available for all courses, except those which contribute to the Honours classification. Where, exceptionally, reassessment on Honours courses is required to satisfy professional/accreditation requirements, only the overall course grade achieved at the first attempt will contribute to the Honours classification. For non-Honours courses, students are offered reassessment in all or any of the components of assessment if the satisfactory (threshold) grade for the overall course is not achieved at the first attempt. This is normally grade D3 for undergraduate students and grade C3 for postgraduate students. Exceptionally it may not be possible to offer reassessment of some coursework items, in which case the mark achieved at the first attempt will be counted towards the final course grade. Any such exceptions for this course are described below. 

Course Aims

The aims of this course are to: 

■ Enable students to appraise and analyse the processes of policymaking and implementation, and review examples of water resource policies and governance models at national and international levels.

■ Further develop students' knowledge and understanding of the complexity of water resources scarcity and pollution under current development frameworks.

■ Enhance the students´ knowledge of the roles of public, private, and civil organisations at the national and sub-national levels in addressing water resources problems, as well as constraints for water policy implementation.

■ Further develop students´ knowledge of the impacts of water resources scarcity and pollution on inequality.

■ Examine global water movements, how they have evolved over time, and how they have informed policies.

Intended Learning Outcomes of Course

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

1. Critically discuss the different processes of devising water policies at national and international levels.

2. Account for the complex issue of water scarcity and pollution with reference to current development frameworks.

3. Explain the roles of public, private and civil organisations at national and sub-national levels in relation to water resources problems and the constraints associated with policy implementation.

4. Analyse equality issues between the different sectors that require water and provide examples of policy and political responses.

5. Assess global water movements and their evolution over time and their impacts on policy.

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.