Academic Programs

Sustainable Water Markets Fellowswhip Program

The SWM Program
SWM Fellows
Faculty & Staff

Sustainable Water Markets Fall Seminar

This course provides students with an overview of water markets and the role of water law, policy, science, and the broader context in which water markets operate. Bren faculty, fellows, alumni, and guest speakers associated with the Sustainable Water Markets Program guide students in discussions of relevant readings and case studies that highlight the role of water markets in water policy and their potential for improving water reliability, quality, and the environment.

Water Law
This class is designed to provide an introduction to water law for non-lawyers. The course considers state and federal laws respecting water allocation, development, and conservation. More specifically, the course will address: California law governing the allocation of water rights; public rights in the use and conservation of water; allocation of water resources between the federal government and states, with a particular focus on the overlap between federal environmental law and state allocation of water rights. The course will also highlight ways non-lawyers can influence legal and political outcomes relating to water law.

Groundwater Management
Groundwater banking and markets are emerging throughout the world as a way to combat groundwater depletion. Because groundwater is often managed differently than surface water, understanding how it is managed and how changing laws and regulations throughout the West might influence future management decisions is essential for SWM fellows understanding of this emerging tool. This class examined the principles and tools for groundwater management and stewardship of groundwater resources in the US, including examples drawn from global groundwater management challenges.

Environmental Water Transactions Workshop
The Environmental Water Transactions workshop, taught by Bruce Aylward, managing director of AMP Insights, includes the theory and practice of using water rights transactions to reallocate existing water rights to environmental purposes. The course walks students through the background and fundamental steps of designing a water transaction, using case studies from the Pacific Northwest and other western states. Students then learn about broader water market institutions such as water auctions, groundwater banks, and water banking strategies.

Challenge of Science Leadership
The Challenge of Science Leadership was designed by the Barefoot Thinking Group and focuses on effective tools and techniques that early career science professionals can employ to enhance individual effectiveness as leaders within their diverse collaborative and individual professional endeavors. The highly interactive course draws on individual's unique experiences to unlock effective tactics for: thinking strategically (from engaging different thinking styles, to creative thinking around scoping, scoping, analyzing, visioning, and innovating); influencing behavior (from leadership styles and giving feedback); and enabling action (from time tactics to visualizing networks, to action planning around big ideas).

Systems Thinking
This workshop explores the core concepts and tools of systems thinking and how they can be applied to our daily lives through simulation games, experiential learning and interactive discussions. Through a group simulation, students learn the Iceberg Model — going from event, pattern of behavior, structure, mental model to shared vision — to help us identify and enact high-leverage interventions in a social system. The class learns how a system’s structure determines its behavior by exploring the fundamental modes of dynamic behavior: exponential growth, goal seeking, oscillation, limits to growth, and overshoot and collapse. These are basic building blocks for understanding dynamic complex systems.