Water and other resources

Diverse legal regimes regulate natural resources, from water to critical minerals

MCLE academics and graduate researchers are examining how law determines the manner in which natural resources are understood, regulated and conserved, and the relations that determine, and are impacted by, law.

Current research

Drop of Water

Ending Aqua Nullius: Sustainable and Legitimate Water Law in Settler States

DE230100622 | Funding period: 2023 – 2026

This project aims to investigate how treaty and agreement making can lead to water law reform in settler colonial states. This project will use interdisciplinary approaches in Australia, Aotearoa New Zealand, Canada and the US to develop new knowledge of how Indigenous sovereignty shapes water law. Expected outcomes of this project include enhanced collaborations between researchers and Indigenous Peoples, evidence-based law and policy guidelines for ethical, pluralist water laws, and context-specific pathways for water law reform developed in partnership with Indigenous Peoples as part of Treaty-making. This should provide significant benefits, such as improving both the legitimacy and ecological sustainability of water law in Australia. This project is led by Dr Erin O’Donnell.

Academic Members

Profile picture of Erin O'Donnell

Dr Erin O'Donnell

Program Director
Profile picture of Lily O'Neill

Dr Lily O'Neill

Senior Research Fellow, Isu
Profile picture of Cait Storr

Dr Cait Storr

Program Director

Graduate Researchers

Profile picture of Michael Bader

Michael Bader

Profile picture of Richard Hainbach

Richard Hainbach

Profile picture of Roanna McClelland

Roanna McClelland


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