The Need for Management
According to a recent United Nations Environment Programme report, a substantial fraction of humanity may soon be living with water shortages as a result of poor water resources management. Water resources management is, therefore, central to the survival of entire ecosystems and the associated human populations.
Water related issues are even more pressing in the arid and semiarid southwestern United States. The unprecedented growth in this region is directly tied to the availability of water resources of appropriate quantity and quality. Wasteful use or contamination of surface and ground waters may threaten the entire ecosystem. The dropping level of Lake Mead over the last few years, as a consequence of drought in the western United States, helps us realize the potential magnitude of the problem and challenges we face.
Managing this precious resource is best accomplished by an interdisciplinary approach, that integrates scientific considerations such as water quality and water quantity,with policy issues including water economics and water law.
Laws and regulations at the federal, state, and local levels guide the direction of scientific research, as do social and economic concerns. It is because of such dynamic interactions that an interdisciplinary approach holds the most promise when attempting to solve often-intractable problems related to water resources management.
These challenges need to be addressed by a variety of professionals who are determined and willing to work together as a team. The goal of the Water Resources Management graduate program at UNLV is to promote this approach and to provide the necessary education.