Spotlight on ethics: Water wars: managing competing water rights

What responsibilities do engineers have to fellow employees, the community, and the environment? Is there a difference between the environment locally and globally? Should environmental concerns outweigh others?

These are some of the questions posed in our Engineering Ethics Toolkit case study Water wars: managing competing water rights.

This case involves a situation where environmental damage may be occurring despite the mechanism causing this damage being permissible by law. It examines the ethical issues of sustainability, respect for the environment, risk, societal impact, and future generations, and explores professional situations such as law, policy, communication, and integrity.

Now, as well as the activities within the original case study, we have provided an expansion on one of the activities in the form of a Case enhancement, based on the activity of role-playing a meeting, with students playing different characters representing different perspectives.

We’ve provided this, and other case studies and case enhancements for you to use and adapt in your teaching. If you’re new to ethics, we have a growing library of guidance articles available to support you, and an interactive Ethics Explorer to get you started.

If you would like to give feedback on this or any other Engineering Ethics resource, or submit your own content, you can do so here. We also have a newly created community of practice that you can join, where we hope that educators will support each other, and share their success stories of teaching engineering ethics. You can join our Ethics Ambassadors community here.

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