Skip to 0 minutes and 6 secondsI'd like to welcome you warmly to this open online course on global water security for people and ecosystems I'm Steve Ormerod, a professor in Cardiff University's School of Biosciences and co-director of our interdisciplinary Water Research Institute. I'll be your guide over the duration of this course, and you'll see me also for some of the individual items. So why water security, and why for both people and ecosystems?

Skip to 0 minutes and 39 secondsThere are few challenges more important to our growing numbers than securing the supplies of water that keep us alive. Simultaneously, though, we have to ensure that we don't overuse or pollute fresh waters to the point that we degrade or even destroy the earth's natural ecosystems that also depend on water. That's because we, and the generations who come after us, depend on natural ecosystems for so many aspects of life support. Yet this balancing act is among the most complex and urgent issues of the 21st century. Around one in 10 people drink water from sources that may be unsafe, because they're polluted or carry a disease risk. Three billion people already lack basic sanitation, and the problems are growing.

Skip to 1 minute and 30 secondsIn the next 30 years, as human populations increase by around 18 million per year, it's likely that over four billion people won't have enough water to grow the food they need. But already, the evidence is that we're damaging the earth's lakes, streams, and rivers faster than any other type of ecosystem. And these are just some aspects of our water security challenges around the world. Over the next four weeks, we'll introduce you to the concept and different facets of water security and the pressures upon it. We'll introduce you to the water cycle. We'll show you how we exploit it. And we'll examine the influences on the amount and quality of water available for people in a changing, more risky world.

Skip to 2 minutes and 13 secondsWe'll use case studies to explore the complex balance between the protection and exploitation of water, the trade-offs that can result, and we'll tell you some of the stories of the people and ecosystems affected. Finally, after showing you some of the most difficult problems. We'll start to explore some of the possible solutions by which management and governance could help to create a more secure water future. Our aim is that you'll get a new appreciation of the water security challenge across the globe and your own place in it. We hope, too, that you can find your own way to helping to solve this most intractable of problems.

Skip to 2 minutes and 57 secondsThis week, we lay the foundations for the course by discussing the concept of global water security. In week two, we'll outline some of the existing issues which affect water security across the globe. And then in week three, we look ahead at the emerging trends and future challenges before addressing possible solutions in week four. Throughout the course, we'd like to encourage you to reflect and consider the issues we raise. So to start us off, what do we mean by water security? There are different interpretations, and the four activities in this first week explore those different meanings. We'll give you some of the formal definitions offered by authors in this field and by international organisations.

Skip to 3 minutes and 45 secondsWe'll also consider the concepts that come into play when discussing water security for people and for ecosystems, including the idea of the water cycle. So now, it's over to you. Just what is water security?

Welcome to the course

In this video Professor Steve Ormerod explains what we’ll be covering in the course.

Over the next four weeks we’ll be introducing you to the concepts and different facets of water security.

The aim of the course is to give you a new appreciation of water security challenges across the globe.

In Week 1 we’ll be introducing the concepts of global water security and the water cycle.

In Week 2 we’ll be outlining existing issues that effect water security across the globe.

In Week 3 we’ll be looking ahead to emerging trends and future challenges.

Finally, in Week 4 we’ll address possible solutions to current and future challenges.

Introduce yourself

Please introduce yourself in the comments.

Tell us where you are from, your background and your motivations for taking this course.

Where in the world

We’re also creating an online map: why not add yourself and see where your fellow learners are in the world?

Here’s how you do it:

  1. Click here to go to the map

  2. Go to the top left corner of the map and click on the tab marked ‘Additions’.

  3. Choose ‘Add Marker- Simple’.

  4. Type your first name in the ‘Entry Name’ field.

  5. Type your location (city or town and country only – please don’t give your full address for your own security). Or you can use the ‘click on map location’ feature.

  6. Hit submit.

If you’re experiencing difficulties you can consult the Zeemaps help pages.

Once you’ve added yourself to the map, click the ‘back button’ on your browser to return to this page.

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This video is from the free online course:

The Challenge of Global Water Security

Cardiff University

Get a taste of this course

Find out what this course is like by previewing some of the course steps before you join: