Water is our most important resource in the world. Without it, human, animal and plant life cannot exist for very long. Where we live in the eastern United States, water is plentiful. We take it for granted that we can drink it freely, wash ourselves when we feel like it, and use it for industry and recreation. But in our own country (western U.S.) and other parts of the world, the water supply is getting scarce and causing horrible conflicts between neighborhoods, nations, ethnic groups, corporations and indigenous peoples. This course will begin with understanding the water cycle, then examining the uses of water, and finally, look deeply at three case studies of serious conflicts over water. “When the Rivers Run Dry: Water – The Defining Crisis of the 21st Century” by Fred Pearce will be the text for the course. Invited guests who are scientists, social scientists, policy makers, environmental attorneys and conflict resolution specialists will be part of the course.