ESS-34806 Climate Change Adaptation in Water Management


Credits 6.00

Teaching methodContact hours
Literature study
Practical extensively supervised45
Course coordinator(s)dr. F Ludwig
Lecturer(s)dr. F Ludwig
dr. ir. EJJ van Slobbe
dr. RWA Hutjes
dr. SE Werners
dr. GR Biesbroek
Examiner(s)dr. F Ludwig
dr. ir. EJJ van Slobbe

Language of instruction:


Assumed knowledge on:

Relevant Bachelor diploma and ESS-33806 Integrated Water Management.

Continuation courses:

MSc. Thesis Integrated Water Management.


The amount of water used for human activities has rapidly increased over the last centuries. To increase human water use and to prevent floods, the natural water systems have been modified in large parts of the world. These increased human pressures have reduced or exceeded the carrying capacity of water systems. Future climate change and socio-economic development is expected to aggravate this. How future developments and climate change will affect water systems however is highly uncertain. To improve future water management we need to better understand interactions between climate change, human interventions and water system functioning and we have to manage our systems taking a more flexible and adaptive approach. This course aims at teaching the main theories, methods and approaches of adaptation of water systems to future pressures.
During the course the students will learn about climate change scenarios and the impacts of climate change on water resources, flood risks and water management. We will discuss how socio-economic changes affect water systems, water demand, and land use. Based on this information the students will learn how to develop scenarios and how to do a vulnerability assessment.
The course will also address different approaches of climate change adaptation in the water sector and possible adaptation tools. Future changes however are highly uncertain so during the course we will address and discuss which methods are available to develop strategies which take into account the uncertainties.
We will discuss examples from both the developed and developing world and we will address issues such as water scarcity, salt water intrusion, pollution and changing flood risks.
During the course students will develop an adaptive water management plan for a (sub)-basin or delta. Students will study the main climate change impacts, develop future scenarios and assess the main vulnerabilities. Based on the main vulnerabilities students will develop an adaptation strategy based on critical assessment of different adaptation measures.

Learning outcomes:

After successful completion of this course students are expected to be able to:
- understand the main principles behind management of water systems considering long term futures;
- analyse climate change impacts on the water sector;
- develop simple future scenarios relevant for water management;
- integrate social and biophysical vulnerabilities into planning for water systems;
- develop and critically assess adaptation measures related to management of water resources;
- apply different approaches for climate change adaptation.


- attending lectures;
- studying different scientific papers;
- actively participate in Tutorials;
- group-work.
During the course students will develop an adaptive water management strategy for a relevant (sub)-basin or delta. Students will write a group report and will present and discuss the results with the other students.


- written exam (60%);
- group assignments (40%).
Both should be higher than 5.5.


Book chapters and scientific papers to be made available through blackboard.

Compulsory for: MILInternational Land and Water ManagementMScC: Adaptive Water Management4WD
Restricted Optional for: MESEnvironmental SciencesMSc4WD
MCLClimate StudiesMSc4WD