Teaching and Educational Methods
Reconciling Theory and Practice in Higher Education Water Economics Courses
University of Waterloo
JEL Codes: A220, Q225
Keywords: Collaboration, education, interdisciplinarity, water challenges, water economics
Publish Date: February 13, 2023
Volume 5, Issue 2
The water economics course offered at the University of Waterloo provides students from the Department of Economics and other schools and departments across campus the opportunity to learn more about the application of economic theory, concepts, models, and methods to global water challenges. Students are prepared for real-world challenges by linking theory to practical examples. They are brought “into the field” through visits to local wastewater treatment facilities and real-world practical assignments. Emerging trends and water policy challenges in need of reconciliation with economic theory and methods are addressed. The practical examples make abstract water management challenges in the water economics literature real for students. Collaboration with other disciplines and sectors, as increasingly required in the water domain, is emphasized to effectively inform economically efficient water management. The annual course evaluation shows that economics students value especially the applied and interdisciplinary nature of the course.
Arrighi, C., M. Masi, and R. Iannelli. 2018. “Flood Risk Assessment of Environmental Pollution Hotspots.” Environmental Modelling & Software 100(C):1–10. Doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2017.11.014.
Bakker, K. 2014. “The Business of Water: Market Environmentalism in the Water Sector.” Annual Review of Environment and Resources 39(1):469–494. Doi: 10.1146/annurev-environ-070312-132730.
Brouwer, R. 2008. “The Role of Stated Preference Methods in the Water Framework Directive to Assess Disproportionate Costs.” Journal of Environmental Planning and Management 51(5):597–614.
Brouwer, R. 2018. “Payments for Ecosystem Services.” In M. Potschin, R. Haines-Young, R. Fish, and R.K. Turner, ed. Handbook of Ecosystem Services. London: Routledge.
Brouwer, R. 2022. “Economic Analysis of Resource Recovery.” In I. Pikaar et al., ed. Resource Recovery from Water: Principles and Application. London: IWA Publishing. Doi: 10.2166/9781780409566_0365.
Brouwer, R., and R. van Ek. 2004. “Integrated Ecological, Economic and Social Impact Assessment of Alternative Flood Protection Measures in the Netherlands.” Ecological Economics 50(1–2):1–21. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2004.01.020.
Brouwer, R., and J. Kind. 2005. “The Costs and Benefits of Flood Control Policy in the Netherlands.” In R. Brouwer and D.W. Pearce, ed. Cost-Benefit Analysis and Water Resources Management. Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Brouwer, R. and D.W. Pearce (ed). “Cost-Benefit Analysis and Water Resources Management.” Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Brouwer, R., and C. Deblois. 2008. “Integrated Modelling of Risk and Uncertainty Underlying the Selection of Cost-Effective Water Quality Measures.” Environmental Modelling & Software 23:922–937. Doi: 10.1016/j.envsoft.2007.10.006.
Brouwer, R., S. Schenau, and R. van der Veeren. 2005. “Integrated River Basin Accounting and the European Water Framework Directive.” Statistical Journal of the United Nations Economic Commission for Europe 22(2):111–131.
Brouwer, R., T. Dekker, J. Rolfe, and J. Windle. 2010. “Choice Certainty and Consistency in Repeated Choice Experiments.” Environmental and Resource Economics 46:93–109. Doi: 10.1007/s10640-009-9337-x.
Brouwer, R., A. Tesfaye, and P. Pauw, P. 2011. “Meta-analysis of institutional-economic factors explaining the environmental performance of payments for watershed services.” Environmental Conservation 38(4): 380-392. Doi: 10.1017/S0376892911000543
Brouwer, R., V. Linderhof, Z. Leng, and Z. Pan. 2021. “Benefits of improved water quality with a hedonic pricing analysis: can spatial dependence analyses support?” Paper presented at the 26th Annual Conference of the European Association of Environmental and Resource Economists, 23-25 June, 2021. Technische Universität Berlin and Humboldt-Universitätzu Berlin.
Carr, G., A.R. Blanch, A.P. Blaschke, R. Brouwer, C. Bucher, A.H. Farnleitner, A. Fürnkranz-Prskawetz, D.P. Loucks, E. Morgenroth, J. Parajka, N. Pfeifer, H. Rechberger, W. Wagner, M. Zessner, and G. Blöschl. 2017. “Emerging Outcomes from an Interdisciplinary Doctoral Programme on Water Resource Systems.” Water Policy wp2017054. Doi:10.2166/wp.2017.054.
The Economist Intelligence Unit. 2021. Under Pressure. The Economic Costs of Water Stress and Mismanagement. London: The Economist Intelligence Unit Limited.
European Communities. 2003. “Guidance Document No. 1, Economics and the Environment—The Implementation Challenge of the Water Framework Directive.” Luxembourg: Office for Official Publications of the European Communities.
Engel, S. 2016. “The Devil in the Detail: A Practical Guide on Designing Payments for Environmental Services.” International Review of Environmental and Resource Economics 9(1–2):131–177. Doi: 10.1561/101.00000076.
Griffin, R.C. 2016. Water Resource Economics. The Analysis of Scarcity, Policies and Projects. Cambridge MA: MIT Press, 2nd ed.
Hutton, G., and M. Varughese. 2016. “The Costs of Meeting the 2030 Sustainable Development Goal Targets on Drinking Water, Sanitation, and Hygiene.” Water and Sanitation Program, Technical Paper 103171. Washington DC: World Bank.
Johnston, J.J., K.J. Boyle, W. Adamowicz, J. Bennett, R. Brouwer, et al. 2017. “Contemporary Guidance for Stated Preference Studies.” Journal of the Association of Environmental and Resource Economists 4(2):319–405. Doi: 10.1086/691697.
Kahsay, T., O. Kuik, R. Brouwer, and P. van der Zaag. 2015. “Estimation of the Transboundary Economic Impacts of the Grand Ethiopia Renaissance Dam: A Computable General Equilibrium Analysis.” Water Resources and Economics 10:14–30. Doi: doi.org/10.101/j.wre.2015.02.003.
Kahsay, T., D. Arjoon, O. Kuik, R. Brouwer, A. Tilmant, and P. van der Zaag. 2019. “A Hybrid Partial and General Equilibrium Modeling Approach to Assess the Hydro-Economic Impacts of Large Dams—The Case of the Grand Ethiopian Renaissance Dam in the Eastern Nile River Basin.” Environmental Modelling and Software 117:76–88. Doi:10.1016/j.envsoft.2019.03.007.
Karamouz, M., E. Rasoulnia, Z. Zahmatkesh, M.A. Olyaei, and A. Baghvand. 2016. “Uncertainty-Based Flood Resiliency Evaluation of Wastewater Treatment Plants.” Journal of Hydroinformatics 18(6):990–1006. Doi: 10.2166/hydro.2016.084.
Kirchherr, J., D. Reike, and M. Hekkert. 2017. “Conceptualizing the Circular Economy: An Analysis of 114 Definitions.” Resources,Conservation and Recycling 127:221–232. Doi: 10.1016/j.resconrec.2017.09.005.
Mangan, T., R. Brouwer, H. Lohano, and G.M. Nagraj. 2013. “Estimating the Recreational Value of Pakistan’s Largest Freshwater Lake to Support Sustainable Tourism Management Using a Travel Cost Model.” Journal of Sustainable Tourism 21(3):473–486. Doi: 10.1080/09669582.2012.708040.
Martin-Ortega, J., A. Perni, L. Jackson-Blake, B.B. Balana, A. Mckee, S. Dunn, R. Helliwell, R. Psaltopoulos, D. Skuras, S. Cooksley, and B. Slee. 2015. “A Transdisciplinary Approach to the Economic Analysis of the European Water Framework Directive.” Ecological Economics 116:34–45. Doi: 10.1016/j.ecolecon.2015.03.026.
McKindles, K., T. Frenken, R.M.L. McKay, and G.S. Bullerjahn. 2020. “Binational Efforts Addressing Cyanobacterial Harmful Algal Blooms in the Great Lakes.” In J. Crossman and C. Weisener, ed. Contaminants of the Great Lakes. The Handbook of Environmental Chemistry. Vol. 101. Cham: Springer. Doi: 10.1007/698_2020_513.
McQuarrie, J., and T. MacLennan. 2021. Monitoring Trends in Academic Programs. Vol. 4, Issue 1. Toronto: Higher Education Strategy Associates.
National Academies of Sciences, Engineering, and Medicine. 2018. Review of the New York City Department of Environmental Protection Operations Support Tool for Water Supply. Washington DC: The National Academies Press. Doi:10.17226/25218.
Olmstead, S.M. 2010a. “The Economics of Managing Scarce Water Resources.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 4(2):179–198. Doi: 10.1093/reep/req004.
Olmstead, S.M. 2010b. “The Economics of Water Quality.” Review of Environmental Economics and Policy 4(1):44–62. Doi: 10.1093/reep/rep016.
Pan, Z., and R. Brouwer. 2021. “A Theoretical Modeling Framework to Support Investment Decisions in Green and Grey Infrastructure Under Risk and Uncertainty.” Journal of Forest Economics 36(4):407–440. Doi: 10.1561/112.00000536.
Qaddumi, H. 2008. “Practical Approaches to Transboundary Water Benefit Sharing.” Working Paper 292. London: Overseas Development Institute. https://www.files.ethz.ch/isn/91245/wp292.pdf.
Seibert, J., and M.J.P. Vis. 2012. “Irrigania—A Web-Based Game about Sharing Water Resources.” Hydrology and Earth System Sciences 16:2523–2530. Doi: 10.5194/hess-16-2523-2012.
Shaw, W.D. “Water Resource Economics and Policy: An Introduction.” Cheltenham UK: Edward Elgar Publishing.
Sinclair Knight Merz. 2013. “Characterising the Relationship between Water Quality and Water Quantity.” Canberra, Australia: Department of Agriculture and Water Resources. https://www.waterquality.gov.au/.
Smith, R., B. Bass, D. Sawyer, D. Depew, and S.B. Watson. 2019. “Estimating the Economic Costs of Algal Blooms in the Canadian Lake Erie Basin.” Harmful Algae 87:101624. Doi: 10.1016/j.hal.2019.101624.
Taka, M., L. Verbrugge, and O. Varis. 2021. “Making Waves: Joining Forces for Better Doctoral Education in Water Research.” Water Research 204:117650. Doi: 10.1016/j.watres.2021.117650.
United Nations. 2022. “Making Water and Sanitation Affordable for All: Policy Options and Good Practices to Ensure the Affordability of Safe Drinking Water and Sanitation Services in the Pan-European Region.” United Nations Publication ECE/MP.WH/20. New York: United Nations Economic Commission for Europe and the World Health Organization, Regional Office for Europe.
US Committee on Science, Engineering and Public Policy. 2005. Facilitating Interdisciplinary Research. Washington DC: The National Academies Press.
Wunder, S., R. Brouwer, S. Engel, D. Ezzine-de-Blas, R. Muradian, U. Pacual, and R. Pinto. 2018. “From Principles to Practice in Paying for Nature’s Services.” Nature Sustainability 1(3):145–150.
Young, R. 2005. “Determining the Economic Value of Water. Concepts and Methods.” Washington DC: Resources for the Future Press.
Zwarts, L., P. Van Beukering, B. Kone, E, Wymenga. 2005. The Niger, A Lifeline. Effective Water Management in the Upper Niger Basin. Lelystad: RIZA, Wageningen: Wetlands International, Amsterdam: Institute for Environmental studies (IVM), Veenwouden: A&W ecological consultants. ISBN 90-807150-6-9.
Articles in this issue
Solving Optimal Groundwater Problems with Excel
Christopher A. Wada, Sittidaj Pongkijvorasin, James A. Roumasset, and Kimberly M. Burnett
Teaching Water Economics in a Desert Environment
Teaching Water Economics by Building Problem-Based Case Studies
Innovations for the Water Resource Economics Curriculum: Training the Next Generation
Frank A. Ward
Teaching Principles of Water Economics to Non-Economists: Lessons from California
Mehdi Nemati and Ariel Dinar
Reconciling Theory and Practice in Higher Education Water Economics Courses
To Rebuild or Not to Rebuild When Disaster Hits
Jada M. Thompson, Misti D. Sharp, and Jonathan C. Walton