New Courses funded by FIPSE
(1) Southwestern water sustainability
The southwestern United States faces unprecedented water availability problems (Woodhouse, 2002; Brookshire, 2002; Arizona Town Hall Report, 2004; Hibbs and Darling, 2005; Garrick and others, 2008; Dominguez and others, 2009). Competition for limited water resources, drought, and population growth combine to provide uncertainties on the availability of water. Future prosperity and economic growth are substantially intertwined with water availability. This proposed special topics course (Geology 490) will provide essential water resources information to Cal State LA students by covering water supply programs and problems in the southwestern United States. The special topics course includes an initial 2 unit classroom 6 session where the instructor and guest speakers will lecture and where students will conduct and present team research projects. The second part of the course includes a 10 day field activity with stops and research presentations at pertinent sites. Field stops and student presentations will be made at the Owens Valley system of Northern California; the San Joaquin Valley of Central California; the Colorado River Basin; the Imperial Valley, California; and the Salt River Project of Arizona. Topics will include analysis of rules regarding distribution of water; integration of groundwater basin management in regional water system management; and analysis of hydrological processes (precipitation, runoff, groundwater recharge) and drought in the regional watersheds serving these water projects. The students must observe these systems to grasp the many problems confronting them. This course will be open to about 20 students. Many will be from our MS programs in Geology/Hydrology. Depending on interest, at least 30% of the class will be reserved for graduate students from other disciplines (e.g, engineering and political science). The inclusion of students from multiple disciplines will provide learning opportunities emulating real world activities in the water resources profession (a highly interdisciplinary field). To keep our current students competitive, this class will provide additional foundations and first hand field observations of important water systems in the southwestern United States. Team research projects will include developing a set of recommendations by interdisciplinary student research groups on how to address water sustainability issues in major watersheds and hydrologic basins in the southwest.
(2) Field and Laboratory Methods in Hydrology
The Cal State LA hydrological monitoring site has been used occasionally, but not regularly, in classes for hydrologic training on field techniques and measurements. A new 7 special topics class (Geology 491) on field methods will be developed to train graduate students on technical protocols for collecting and interpreting field data. The course will focus on water quality assessment of urban runoff, groundwater quality assessment, and analysis of surface and groundwater interactions.
(3) Transboundary aquifer and environmental management along the US/Mexico Border
Since implementation of the North American Free Trade Agreement, communities along the US/Mexico border have experienced enormous population growth (Brott and Browning- Aiken, 2003). Much of the border population depends on one of the seventeen aquifers extending across the US/Mexico Border. Conserving and protecting aquifers along the US/Mexico Border is essential to improving the economic, ecological and security interests of both nations (Chermak and others, 2005). This proposed special topics course (Geology 490) will inform CSULA students about water supply and policy issues related to these transboundary aquifers.
(4) Issues and protocols for water security in the United States.
This special topics course will cover issues of water security in the United States, with special focus on sensitive aquifers, southwestern aqueducts and water systems, and transboundary aquifers and river basins along the international borders with Mexico and Canada that are susceptible to attack. Course content will include: (1) review of existing literature related to groundwater & water supply system protection policies (e.g., American Water Works
Association. 2003; U.S. Government Accountability Office, 2003; National Drinking Water
Advisory Council, 2005); (2) development of an integrated approach of risk assessment; (3)
review of legal and regulatory frameworks related to the protection of groundwater and water
supply systems against terrorism; (4) application of risk assessments to regional aquifers producing from karstic and other sensitive geologic formations; and (5) protection measures that
might be recommended for sensitive aquifer and water supply systems. The course will be open to all science and engineering majors, political science majors, and environmental planners.