GEOG 4501 Water Resources and Water Management of Western United States

Instructor Contact:

Dr. Jake Haugland


Instructor Bio:

I received a Ph.D. in Geography from the University of Colorado at Boulder (2003), specializing in soils, mountain geography, and periglacial geomorphology. My dissertation research investigated the effects of melting glaciers and landform evolution in the mountains of Norway. I received my Master’s in Geography from Portland State University (1998) where I researched soil geomorphology in the Oregon Cascades. My Bachelor’s degree is in Earth Science with a minor in Soil Science from Montana State University (1995).

In addition to teaching online geography at the University of Colorado, I am an adjunct instructor at the University of Alaska at Anchorage and at Southern New Hampshire University.  I live in south central Alaska, about an hour north of Anchorage on 4.5 acres of land with my three girls, one boy, a lovely spouse of almost 12 years, and lastly a very fury Norwegian Elkohound.  We have a large 800 square foot garden, a greenhouse, a chicken coop and we love to travel, fish, hunt, pick wild blue berries in the mountains and homebrew.  We often catch salmon the size of our youngest children.  Life is good!

About the Course:

Water is a fundamental resource that is, and has been, a key factor in the political and social development of the western U.S. The unique distribution, timing, quantity, and quality of western water all have combined to create a dynamic tension in the management of this resource so critical to the future sustainability of the region.


The objective of this course is to provide an overview of the concepts, issues and problems of western water resources and management so that students can understand the issues and institutions of western water. Topics to be addressed include:

  1. The physical attributes of water resources, including: quality, quantity, timing, and distribution.
  2. The social attributes of water management: values, law & policy, scales of control, science, economics.

Course Grading:

For most assignments grading rubrics are provided. It is recommended that you look at the rubrics prior to submitting your work. That way you will know how you will be assessed and what is being specifically required. Your final course grade will be based on the following weightings:

  • 10% – Discussion Boards
  • 10% – Module Quizzes/Self Assessments
  • 15% – Module summaries of required readings
  • 20% – Western Water Field Excursion Project
  • 15% – Interview of a Western Water Professional Project
  • 30% – Term Paper

NO extra credit is available for this course.

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Monday – Friday
8:00am to 5:00pm


We are located at the corner of University Avenue and 15th Street in a white brick building.


1505 University Avenue
University of Colorado Boulder
178 UCB
Boulder, Colorado