Skip Navigation
UT wordmark
College of Liberal Arts wordmark
plan2 masthead
Michael Stoff, Director 305 East 23rd St, CLA 2.102, (G3600) Austin, TX 78712-1250 • 512-471-1442

Spring 2009

T C 357 • CANCELLED - Water, Water Everywhere - W

Unique Days Time Location Instructor
42860 TTh
5:00 PM-6:30 PM
CRD 007A

Course Description

This class will consider issues of water in society such as drought, flooding, water quality in the ecosystem and impacts of human activities, and drinking water quantity and quality. Historical examples will be used to highlight these issues. Topics include the following: Water policy: Regulations on water, and the bases of those regulations: Water ownership, water rights, wastewater discharge permits, drinking water regulations Acceptable Risk: the role of scientists/engineers and the general citizenry in setting standards and regulations Social engineering through water engineering How engineered systems (ports, dams, reservoirs, water supply, wastewater collection/ treatment) influence development and human activity.

Individual views of the importance of rivers or other water bodies from personal, political, spiritual, or recreational viewpoints.

Technical content: (Appropriate for Plan II students, regardless of any other major)
Municipal wastewater treatment plants: What do they do and how do they work?
Drinking water treatment plants: What do they do and how do they work?
Contaminants of water: why are certain selected chemicals and microorganisms considered contaminants, and what are their effects in natural waters and in drinking water?

Grading Policy

Class Participation related to common readings: 25%
Contaminant of the Week presentations: 25%
Research Paper (drafts and final; writing) 35%
Research Presentations (initial and final) 15%


Lowrance, W., Of Acceptable Risk: Science and the Determination of Safety. (1976) (Selections)
Barry, J.M. Rising TideThe Great Mississippi Flood of 1927 and How it Changed America (1998)
Postel, S. and Richter, B., Rivers for Life: Managing Water for People and Nature (2003)
Twain, M. Life on the Mississippi
Hesse, H., Siddhartha
Maclean, N. A River Runs Through It

About the Professor
Desmond Lawler is a professor in the Dept. of Civil, Architectural and Environmental Engineering and specializes in drinking water and wastewater treatment processes. He has received several teaching awards at the University and is a member of the Academy of Distinguished Teachers. His prior teaching has all been devoted to technical classes in the College of Engineering; you can teach him how to teach in Plan II while he teaches you why it matters how water flows in a river and why you should not waste your money on bottled water. He is currently completing a graduate textbook on Physical-Chemical Treatment Processes for Water and Wastewater.


bottom border