Water and Climate Education Program (WACEP):
Short Courses in Climate Risk Management and Water Resources Management

Why Study Climate and Water?

Water resources systems provide many services and, if managed correctly, they can contribute significantly to social well-being and economic growth. Today, however, sectoral practitioners and decision makers, such as water resource managers, urban planners, and disaster risk reduction specialists, are faced with the impacts of climate variability and, increasingly, climate change. These conditions often result in extreme or unexpected hydroclimatic events, such as drought, flood and storm surges, which can adversely affect or completely interrupt existing water systems. Severe social, economic, and ecological impacts may result when societies are unable to predict, adapt to, or respond to these conditions.

These concepts are especially important in the Caribbean, as most island states in the region possess limited water resources, relying on limited sources to meet domestic, tourism, agricultural, and industrial needs. Against a landscape that includes population pressure, urbanization, economic development, and a dramatic growth in tourism, pressures on water resources have increased significantly. In this context, Caribbean states are increasingly vulnerable to climatic variability; slight variations in annual precipitation have large impacts on the availability of water resources. To the extent that it will increase variability, climate change stands to exacerbate current challenges. Identifying effective strategies to manage climate- and water-related risk will thus be an important part of maintaining and achieving development gains within the region.

Course Rationale

The Water and Climate Education Program (WACEP) consists of four courses meant to provide participants with the knowledge and concepts necessary to manage water resources and risk related to climate change and variability. In doing so, the courses will improve local and regional capacity to manage climate-related risk in the water and associated sectors, and will provide participants with the technical expertise to mitigate existing water resource problems and develop sustainable water resource management programs.

Program Objectives

The program seeks to impart knowledge about climate change and variability, the subsequent impact on the water system, and the effects of that impact on society.

The primary objectives of this program are to:

  • build a basic understanding of climate change and variability
  • introduce the hydrologic cycle and the related risks and challenges presented by climate variability and change
  • introduce climatic and hydrologic prediction and uncertainty
  • present the core principles of water sustainability explore the application of climate information to inform water resources management and planning
  • build an understanding of the general issues related to water policy

Program Delivery and Support

Each course will include a lecture series and an online supplement, which will consist of text and interactive material. A certificate will be issued upon successful completion of each course.

The delivery of the courses has been adapted to accommodate the schedules of working professionals by providing a remote live delivery of lectures and discussions, supplemented by self-guided online materials such as exercises and readings to be completed within a flexible timeframe. Professionals who are living in Barbados are encouraged to attend the lectures face to face on the UWI campus if possible.