Law School

Water Resources Law publication

Water Resources Law book cover

How will Australian law provide for the management and sharing of water resources between human users and sustaining ecosystems?

Associate Professor Alex Gardner from the University of Western Australia, together with Professor Richard Bartlett from the University of Western Australia and Ms Janice Gray from the University of New South Wales, have completed a five-year project to produce a treatise on Water Resources Law, published by LexisNexis Butterworths in July, 2009. This book is an invaluable resource for practitioners, academics, environmentalists and students.

Over the past 15 years Australian parliaments have undertaken a national program of fundamental law reform towards the management and sharing of water resources between human users and sustaining ecosystems. The resultant state and territory legislation is the product of the most significant reforms since water resources statutes were first enacted over a century ago.

The Commonwealth Parliament has entered the field of water resource management and, with the support of some state-referred legislative powers, it has enacted a framework for the national oversight of water resources management in the Murray-Darling basin in addition to other provisions with nationwide operation.

In their book the authors trace the legal history and policy development of reforms in water resources law. They explain in practical terms how the new water resources legislation seeks to implement the national reform policies. Topics include:

  • Australian water resources and water access policy
  • The constitutional and administrative framework
  • The nature of water access rights
  • Water resources planning
  • The administration of access entitlements
  • Water trading
  • Conclusion on sharing water scarcity in Australia.