Water resources sustainable economy

A.Y. 2020/2021
Overall hours
Learning objectives
In the near future, partly because of global warming and pollution, the amount of freshwater available to
humanity may not be sufficient to meet the growing demand. If the trend of demographic and economic
development should be confirmed, and if we do not adopt new systems to avoid waste and reduce
consumption, the value of water resources will eventually increase enough to seriously affect the global
economy and geopolitical balance. This is why managing and governing the resource of water and its use
represent one of the biggest challenges that society faces today on a global scale.
Expected learning outcomes
The course aims to provide the basic elements of the water economy to understand (i) the economic and
social processes of the right to water and for a sustainable consumption of water resource and (ii) the virtual
water trade distribution.
Course syllabus and organization

Single session

Lesson period
Second semester
Course syllabus
· The global water scenario
o Increasing water demand vs water availability reduction
o Adapting to climate variability and change
· The human right to water
o Access to water in the millennium development goals
o Towards water security
· Water and the three dimensions of sustainable development
o Poverty and social equity
o Economic development
o Ecosystems
· Addressing critical developmental challenges
o Water, sanitation and hygiene
o Urbanisation
o Food and agriculture
o Energy and Industry
· Sustainable water consumption
o The water footprint
o The analysis of the life cycle of a product
o Calculation of the green, blue and grey water footprint
· Globalisation: international trade in water
o Virtual water trade
o Examples of virtual water flows
o Elements of geopolitics of water
· Public or private water
o Drivers of water privatisation
o Private property rights on water resources
· Economic value of water resources
o Water and natural capital
o Elements of water pricing
Prerequisites for admission
Teaching methods
Lessons and practicing exercises
Teaching Resources
Antonelli, M., Greco, F. (2015). The water we eat. Combining virtual water and water footprint. Springer,
· Chartres, C., Varma, S. (2010). Out of Water: from Abundance to Scarcity and How to Solve the World's Water Problems. FT Press, Upper Saddle River, NJ.
· European Commission (2000). Directive 2000/60/EC of the European Parliament and of the Council of 23 October 2000 establishing a framework for community action in the eld of water policy. Off. J. Eur. Communities 2000.
· Gleick, P.H., Wolff, G., Chalecki, E.L., Reyes, R. (2002). The New Economy of Water. The Risks and Benefits of Globalization and Privatization of Fresh Water. Pacific Institute for Studies in Development, Environment, and Security, Oakland, CA.
· Hoekstra, A.Y. (2008). The Water Footprint of Food. Twente Water Centre, University of Twente, The Netherlands.
· Hoffmann, S.J. (2009). Planet Water - Investing in the World's Most Valuable Resource. Wiley, Hoboken, NJ.
· Savenije, H.H.G., Van der Zaag, P. (2001). Demand Management and Water as an Economic Good: Paradigm with Pitfalls. Value of Water Research Report series, n. 8, UNESCO-IHE, Delft, The Netherlands.
· WWAP (United Nations World Water Assessment Programme) (2015). The United Nations World Water Development Report 2015: Water for a Sustainable World. Paris, UNESCO.
· Material provided by class professor.
Assessment methods and Criteria
The exam consists of an oral test
Humanities workshops: 20 hours