Water Systems Summer Program


Meeting Water Challenges in the 21st Century. The world is in a water supply crisis. With population, agriculture and industrial growth, the demand for fresh water often exceeds supply. Even when a sustainable water supply is available, inadequate infrastructure and institutional controls can limit its access. Water use conflicts abound between urban and rural communities, industrial and agricultural users and even between countries that share water resources.  Water pollution and poor sanitation have added more fuel to the flames of this crisis, disease and even death. The ever increasing thirst for fresh water has resulted in the degradation of rivers and lakes on a worldwide scale, and has pitted environmentalists against those who demand water for supply or for power generation. Global climate change creates an additional challenge to predicting future water availability and adapting solutions to water shortages. But there is hope and it lies with you.  

The general aim of this course is to understand the technical, economic, and social causes and solutions to water supply crises.  Italy, with its diversity of climatic conditions and varied landscape, forms a unique platform to focus on water supply issues and answers. Nowhere but in Italy can one observe how water supply issues have been confronted over a span of over two thousand years.


The Meeting Water Challenges in the 21st Century course, taught by UConn Professor Gary Robbins, provides a broad foundation in subjects to enhance critical problem solving skills. It takes multidisciplinary approaches to understand the causes and potential solutions to water crises. Students will be able to analyze causes of water supply problems and evaluate in a comprehensive manner potential solutions. 

Subject areas: 

  • Water socioeconomics 
  • Water law
  • Water technologies 
  • Environmental science 

The course is structured in daily lectures, class discussions and group projects, student presentations, week day field trips, and two weekend field trips (Bilancino, Siena, Rome). 


drinking water
Water Socioeconomics
Water Law
Environmental Science
Water Treatment
Roman aqueduct
Lago di Bilancino - Dam/Tuscany


The Water Systems Summer Program consists of two mandatory courses: 

  • NATSC 430 – Meeting Water Challenges in the 21st Century (3 credits) 
  • ITAL 101 – The Florence Experience I: Elementary Italian I (4 credits) 

Upon successful completion, students will receive a total of 7 semester credits.
Duration of the Program: June 1-30, 2019.
Program Fees: Tuition & Fees Page.

Please note that the Water Systems Summer Program will be activated with a minimum of 10 students.  

What’s Included

Tuition (7 credits), housing and utilities (including Wi-Fi), airport pick-up in Florence, orientation session and walking tour of the city center, mandatory course field trips, student services help desk, 24/7 emergency phone, ISI Florence transcript.

Program fees do not include:
Meals, airfare, textbooks, insurance, optional institute trips, and extra-curricular activities.

How to Apply

Applying is easy. Complete the online application.
Application deadline:  March, 31st 2019. Early applications are encouraged.