IHE Delft Institute for Water Education is the largest international graduate water facility in the world and is based in Delft, the Netherlands. The institute offers MSc and PhD Programmes as well as a wide range of short courses. These intensive and highly specialized short courses are effective for early to mid-career professionals in upgrading and regenerating their knowledge and skills.
We have made an interview with Ms. Yin Wai Wai Aung who attended the two-week IHE Delft short course on Water Economics from 14 September to 25 September 2019. She is currently working at National Engineering and Planning Service Company Limited (NEPS) as a water resources engineer. She is responsible for several assignments: as an irrigation engineer for calculating crop water requirements and as an assistant project manager for Regional Water Security Study project (RWSS).
The two-week short course is intended to provide an introduction to economic theory and approach as applied to water management. It is for professionals in water-related fields with no prior economic background.
The short course contains the principles of economics relevant to water management, economic instruments for water management and characterizing water resource issues within a socio-economic context. The syllabus of the course includes:
1. Introduction to Water Economics
2. Principles of Economics in Water Management
3. Economic concept of Demand and Water
4. Economic concept of Supply and Water
5. Resource Allocation, Market Mechanism & Government Intervention
6. Welfare Economic Analysis of Water Demand/Supply management
7. The Issue of Water: An Economic Perspective
8. Water Evaluation: Economic Fundamentals
9. Tradable Water Rights
10. Water Finance
Within the short course, a group assignment and exercises are included to examine whether the students fully understand the whole course. Exercises are given based on the respective lectures and the group assignment is part of the lecture on tradable water rights and markets. In this assignment, each group of students represents different firms discharging water pollutants in a region and they have to demonstrate how the property-rights based market approach can be applied to cost-effectively reduce water pollution discharge with improved economic efficiency.
Regarding to new exposure in this course, attaining the experience from a guest lecturer gained her intrigue. She allegedly admitted that she learnt the importance of government policy for a business's success during the lecture of Water Finance by Mr. Piet Klop, a senior environmental finance and economics expert with PGGM, a major Dutch fund management company.
"With regards to the application of the subject, water economics can be applied in allocating water resources effectively for the communities depending on them and trading-off the negative impacts of the operations with alternative resources," she added.
"Economics is a social or political language to convince the people to make their own decisions by means of the cost and benefit. It is also a scientific tool which performs as a platform between scientists and non-scientists," Yin Wai Wai Aung shares her opinion towards the relation between economy and water. "Water is a commodity. Therefore, water economics can simply be understood how to give value to water and how you can recover the cost of water", she shared her definition on water economics.
After attending the short course, Yin Wai Wai Aung learnt more about the importance of water economics in her career. "As a water resources manager, it is important to know basic economic understanding (principles, concept, market-based thinking) to solve the water issues in terms of economic perspective", she said. She thought that authorities from the water supply sector should comprehend the water economics principles and she is willing to share her knowledge to them.
"The course was really interesting and I felt like I learnt a new language. The curriculum of the course was systematic and ideal and overall it was really great," Ms. Yin Wai Wai Aung shared her thoughts about the course.
Watch her interview at IHE Delft.