Dr Erin O’Donnell is a Senior Lecturer and ARC Research Fellow at the University of Melbourne Law School. Erin is a water law and policy expert, and she is recognized internationally for her research into the ground-breaking new field of legal rights for rivers. Her work explores the challenges and opportunities these new rights create for protecting the multiple social, cultural and natural values of rivers. Her work is informed by comparative analysis across Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, the USA, Bangladesh, India, Colombia, and Chile. She has also worked for the World Bank, examining water markets and their role in water security and sustainable development.
Since 2018, Erin has been a member of the Birrarung Council, the voice of the Yarra River in Melbourne. Erin works in partnership with Traditional Owners across Australia on a range of projects, including leading the Cultural Water for Cultural Economies project.
In 2023, Erin commenced an ARC-funded research fellowship to explore the opportunity of treaty to address aqua nullius, increase Traditional Owner power and resources in water, and create more sustainable and legitimate settler state water laws.
Erin’s latest book, Legal Rights for Rivers: Competition, Collaboration, and Water Governance, is available now from Routledge.
The Melbourne JD