VATTENSPECIALISTENS ROLL FÖR EN HÅLLBAR UTVECKLING / The water specialist’s role for a sustainable development
Water problems are becoming more and more complex to solve in a sustainable manner. The reason for this is a rather radical change of focus from engineering solutions to a more interdisciplinary hydro-ecological and socioeconomic perspective during the latest decades. At the same time many occurring water problems are changing character from the local to the larger international global scale. Examples of this are environmental problems connected to acid rainfall and global warming. An important component in this context is the water planning process in which the water specialist is a key element. In the present paper we look at some Swedish education programmes for a “typical” water specialist and outline connections to supporting research. The results appears to be that engineering water education to a large extent has been renewed in order to comprise natural sciences processes such as elements from chemistry, ecology, and biology. Several new interdisciplinary education programmes have been started at higher university institutions during the latest decade. The interdisciplinarity within these programmes appears to be well satisfied regarding the fusion of engineering problem solving and natural scientific process knowledge. Still, however, the socioeconomic part of these programmes appears weak and less regarded. Also, the international perspective seems to be almost lacking. In the near future there are increasing needs to solve water problems not only from a technical/natural sciences perspective but also from socioeconomic and international viewpoints. This will require a continuing renewal of the education that puts emphasize on the interdisciplinary approach.