About this Course

3,391 recent views
Shareable Certificate
Earn a Certificate upon completion
100% online
Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines
Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level
Approx. 24 hours to complete
Subtitles: English

What you will learn

  • Understand the unique aspects of water supply and demand issues in the western US and how water systems have adapted to them.

  • Explain historical and scientific issues around water management in the western US.

  • Recognize major sources of water supplies in the western US and the impact of individual “water footprints."

  • Describe some of the ways in which scientists study research questions related to water and climate in the western US.

Shareable Certificate
Earn a Certificate upon completion
100% online
Start instantly and learn at your own schedule.
Flexible deadlines
Reset deadlines in accordance to your schedule.
Beginner Level
Approx. 24 hours to complete
Subtitles: English

Offered by

University of Colorado Boulder logo

University of Colorado Boulder

Syllabus - What you will learn from this course


Week 1

4 hours to complete

Course Introduction

4 hours to complete
4 videos (Total 37 min), 5 readings
4 videos
Important Things to Know About the Course10m
Geography of the West9m
Review of the Water Cycle (with a focus on the Western US)11m
5 readings
Water Footprint Activity20m
[OPTIONAL] Atlas of the New West1h
[OPTIONAL] Beyond the Hundreth Meridian1h
[OPTIONAL] Climatic fluctuations, drought, and flow in the Colorado River Basin10m

Week 2

3 hours to complete

History, Politics, and Culture of Water Development in the Western US

3 hours to complete
6 videos (Total 74 min), 4 readings, 2 quizzes
6 videos
Native American Tribes and Water11m
Water Storage and Delivery Infrastructure12m
Prior Appropriation16m
Interstate Water Conflicts and Agreements10m
Environmental Flows and the Endangered Species Act16m
4 readings
[OPTIONAL] Report on the Lands of the Arid Region of the United States10m
[OPTIONAL] Colorado River Basin Ten Tribes Partnership Tribal Water Study20m
[OPTIONAL] The Emerging Tribal Role in the Colorado River Basin15m
[OPTIONAL] Suggestions for further reading10m
2 practice exercises
History, Politics, and Culture Quiz25m
Water Footprint Challenge Part 125m

Week 3

5 hours to complete

Hydrology, Water Demand, and Climate in the Western US

5 hours to complete
8 videos (Total 104 min), 10 readings, 2 quizzes
8 videos
Water Quality, Aquatic Habitat, and Drinking Water10m
Groundwater Resources11m
Watershed Impacts13m
River and Flash Flooding13m
Impacts of Climate Change in the Interior West12m
Water Demand for Agriculture13m
Water Demand for Urban Areas14m
10 readings
[OPTIONAL] Assessment of Climate Change in the Southwestern United States10m
[OPTIONAL] Climate Change in Colorado: A Synthesis to Support Water Resources Management and Adaptation10m
[OPTIONAL] Colorado Climate Change Vulnerability Study10m
[OPTIONAL] Water to Supply the Land: Irrigated Agriculture in the Colorado River Basin20m
[OPTIONAL] Municipal Deliveries of Colorado River Basin Water20m
[OPTIONAL] The twenty-first century Colorado River hot drought and implications for the future20m
[OPTIONAL] When is Drought Not a Drought? Drought, Aridification, and the “New Normal”15m
[OPTIONAL] Climate Change and the Colorado River: What We Already Know15m
[OPTIONAL] New House, New Paradigm: A Model for How to Plan, Build, and Live Water-Smart20m
[OPTIONAL] Understanding California’s Groundwater20m
2 practice exercises
Hydrology, Water Demand, and Climate Quiz25m
Water Footprint Challenge Part 220m

Week 4

5 hours to complete

Case Study: The Colorado River Basin

5 hours to complete
5 videos (Total 58 min), 7 readings, 2 quizzes
5 videos
History of Development of the Colorado River Basin7m
Climate and the Colorado River Basin: Past, Present, and Future14m
The Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study15m
Physical Attributes of the Colorado River and Experimental Flows in the Grand Canyon13m
7 readings
[OPTIONAL] Colorado River Basin Water Supply and Demand Study10m
[OPTIONAL] The Exploration of the Colorado River and Its Canyons10m
[OPTIONAL] Water is For Fighting Over and Other Myths about Water in the West1h
[OPTIONAL] Downriver: Into the Future of Water in the West1h
[OPTIONAL] Colorado River Drought Contingency Plans10m
[OPTIONAL] West wrestles with Colorado River “grand bargain” as changing climate depletes water governed by 1922 compact10m
[OPTIONAL] First-ever mandatory water cutbacks will kick in next year along the Colorado River10m
2 practice exercises
Colorado River Basin Quiz25m
Water Footprint Challenge Part 325m



View all reviews

Frequently Asked Questions

  • Access to lectures and assignments depends on your type of enrollment. If you take a course in audit mode, you will be able to see most course materials for free. To access graded assignments and to earn a Certificate, you will need to purchase the Certificate experience, during or after your audit. If you don't see the audit option:

    • The course may not offer an audit option. You can try a Free Trial instead, or apply for Financial Aid.
    • The course may offer 'Full Course, No Certificate' instead. This option lets you see all course materials, submit required assessments, and get a final grade. This also means that you will not be able to purchase a Certificate experience.
  • When you purchase a Certificate you get access to all course materials, including graded assignments. Upon completing the course, your electronic Certificate will be added to your Accomplishments page - from there, you can print your Certificate or add it to your LinkedIn profile. If you only want to read and view the course content, you can audit the course for free.

  • You will be eligible for a full refund until two weeks after your payment date, or (for courses that have just launched) until two weeks after the first session of the course begins, whichever is later. You cannot receive a refund once you’ve earned a Course Certificate, even if you complete the course within the two-week refund period. See our full refund policy.

  • Yes, Coursera provides financial aid to learners who cannot afford the fee. Apply for it by clicking on the Financial Aid link beneath the "Enroll" button on the left. You’ll be prompted to complete an application and will be notified if you are approved. Learn more.

  • This Course doesn't carry university credit, but some universities may choose to accept Course Certificates for credit. Check with your institution to learn more. Online Degrees and Mastertrack™ Certificates on Coursera provide the opportunity to earn university credit.

More questions? Visit the Learner Help Center.