water resources engineering management track
The management of water resources has become increasingly complex over the past two decades due to population growth, climate change, environmental laws and regulations, technological advances, droughts, floods, and increasing competition for limited water supplies worldwide.
In the United States there has been and will continue to be a shifting of population from areas in the country where there are more abundant supplies to the western and southwestern areas where fresh water is more limited. In Texas alone, the population is expected to increase from 25.4 million in 2010 to 46.3 million in 2060.
Across the developing world there is a tremendous shortage of fresh water supplies that are free from pollution and the resources needed to develop these supplies continue to be woefully lacking. Moreover, there are rapid population growth areas in Asia, India, Africa, Mexico, Central and South America that will soon experience water shortage.
El Paso, Texas is a prime example of a city that has had, out of necessity, to diversify its water resources plans in order to ensure water for the future for a growing population and ever present drought conditions. This city has been successful in developing and implementing water conservation, groundwater management, surface water (and the necessary water rights), reclaimed water use, and desalination.
During the 1960s and 70s, numerous individuals were trained as "Sanitary Engineers" due at that time to the emphasis on public health. With the passage of the Clean Water Act, Safe Drinking Water Act and Amendments, the emphasis became much more inclusive of all water resources and possible impacts on health but also the environment.
While there have been continuous education advances in addition to human resource development in this field, there is a need to better define the water resource curriculum to meet today's challenges and expected future challenges so that our water resource engaging workforce is better prepared at the technical and management level.
Water Resources professionals must not only have the necessary technical skills addressing today's and tomorrow's challenges, but also a solid foundation in business, managerial, and legal principles necessary to compete and become productive in a complex water world.