Course Unit Page


This teaching activity contributes to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals of the UN 2030 Agenda.

Gender equality Clean water and sanitation Sustainable cities Climate Action

Academic Year 2022/2023

Learning outcomes

Students of this course will learn advanced methods for the design of water resources systems. The main focus will be (1) the estimation of water resources in the presence of human impact and climate change, (2) the estimation of water demands, and (3) the evaluation of alternative solutions for reconciling the availability of water resources with the increasing water needs and the preservation of ecosystems and the environment. Decision theory will be considered as an effective and transparent means to evaluate competitive solutions, while uncertainty assessment will provide the basis for a pragmatic design. The joint analysis and modeling of water resources systems and societal systems will be the driving concept of the course.

Course contents

The course focuses on no-regret and sustainable solutions to adjust to current or expected effects of climate change. A special focus is dedicated to water related impacts and water resources systems.

The course is highly multidisciplinary and directed to a wide audience with the aim to expand beyond engineering with an innovative vision. To facilitate interdisciplinarity, a narrative form of the final assessment (exam) will be offered to those students who are not attending a degree programme in Engineering.

The teacher will make extensive use of interaction with students. For example, students will be given the optional opportunity of delivering presentations to the class and the public, developing software, preparing open source contributions. Students may propose additional ideas for interaction.

Lectures will be recorded and made freely available on the web. Tutorial documents will be provided in the form of open web pages under CC license, and therefore may be freely re-used by students. An example of tutorial is given at

The lectures include: (1) an introduction to the climate change problem (see a preliminary version of the lecture at https://www.albertomontanari.it/climatechangeproblem/). (2) Climate modelling (https://www.albertomontanari.it/climatemodelling/). (3) Climate change and water cycle (https://www.albertomontanari.it/climatechange/) (4) Models for estimating climate change impact. (5) assessment of water resources under human impact as an innovative tool to project future scenario of development. (6) integrated modeling of environmental and societal systems and related risk, (7) Solutions for climate change adaptation.

Part of the course will be delivered online (pending the approval by the degree programme) to propose to the students: (A) a virtual voyage through time to see the impact of catastrophic droughts; (B) to collect data of climate change from public repositories in order to be make an independent assessment of climate impacts.


The teacher will prepare dynamic documents to support the learning process, which will be made available in the form of an open e-book, which may be open to interactive contribution by students.

Teaching methods

The course is taught through lectures. Part of them are dedicated to simple data analysis and solutions for climate change adaptation. These lectures will be developed at the computer.

Assessment methods

The preparation of the student will be assessed through a quiz with 30 multiple choice questions without penalty and a duration of 30 minutes. Quiz may be different for students attending engineering programmes. After the quiz a short oral examination will follow for the students in engineering only, with duration of about 5 minutes. Students who are not attending engineering programmes will be anyway given the opportunity to make the oral part of the exam, if they wish.

Students may be asked to solve a short exercise during the quiz and/or the oral part of the exam. The exam is passed if the student proves to be prepared on the theoretical principles and analytical derivations that were taught during the lectures. The teacher will explicitly mention to students during the lectures what are the basic questions that one needs to rigorously address in order to pass the exam. The speaking capability will also be evaluated. The laude is reserved to students who are excellently prepared and prove to have integrated their preparation with personal in-depth analysis.

Teaching tools

The teacher will made available notes on his personal web-site. Scientific papers will be distributed during the lectures as well as summaries of recent research outcomes.

Lectures will be delivered with the physical presence of the teacher and will also be made available via online streaming.

Moreover, the teacher makes available videos of the lectures (see https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLzpKSIoIBFCPdGQF00knL4s0H4qyV3ltW).

Links to further information


Office hours

See the website of Alberto Montanari