The Klamath Basin Water Crisis
Water Supply and Demand
Division of Student Transportation
Office of the State Superintendent of Education
In this case study, students examine global water shortage problems in the context of the current Klamath Basin water crisis. Two main perspectives are addressed, agriculture and the environment, along with multiple other perspectives including Native Americans, hydroelectric dams, and the fishing industry. Students learn about and discuss competing interests for water and analyze and critique scientific data, maps, and graphs. The case was developed for a social sciences track environmental studies course. It could be used in an environmental science, ethics, or policy course as well as in water management or agriculture classes.
- Understand implications, causes, and possible solutions of a water shortage.
- Read and understand the maps and graphs presented in the PowerPoint slides.
- Think critically about several sides of the case, with which they may or may not agree.
- Critique the presentation of scientific data presented in the PowerPoint slides.
- Write a paper outlining their own solution for the crisis and detailing future possible problems.
KeywordsWater shortage; water rights; water resources; freshwater; watershed; endangered species; Native American rights, hydroelectric dams; fishing; farming; irrigation; Klamath Basin; California; Oregon
Topical AreasPolicy issues, Regulatory issues, Scientific argumentation, Social issues, Social justice issues
Educational LevelUndergraduate lower division, Undergraduate upper division
Type / MethodsDilemma/Decision, Public Hearing, Role-Play
Subject HeadingsEnvironmental Science | Natural Resource Management |
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Teaching notes are intended to help teachers select and adopt a case. They typically include a summary of the case, teaching objectives, information about the intended audience, details about how the case may be taught, and a list of references and resources.
This case includes a PowerPoint presentation (~1.1MB) that examines fresh water shortages, the purpose of national wildlife refuges, the depletion of water in the Klamath Basin, agriculture and its impact on fresh water supplies, hydroelectric dams and their impacts, fish losses, the rights of Native Americans, and the rights and obligations of the fishing industry.
Klamath Power Point