Wednesday, 17 February 2016

Back into the blog!

It's been a long time between posts. 2016 is officially the Year of the Thesis, so I am working hard to finally get my PhD thesis submitted.

To bring you up to date...

In 2013, I attended a workshop to bring together water policy academics and practitioners from the Murray-Darling Basin and the Colorado, to share lessons on sustainable water management. Water policy is often seen as heavily context-specific, but there is always value in a multi-jurisdictional discussion. The underlying issues of water resource management are common, and even when the specific policies and tools differ greatly, there is still value in a discussion that encourages you to re-examine your own assumptions. The outcome of this workshop was a series of blog posts at the Global Water Forum, and they are well worth a read.

In late 2013, Rebecca Nelson and I chaired a national workshop, Mainstreaming Environmental Water Law and Policy, at the University of Melbourne Law School. This workshop brought together academics, policy makers, private consultants and NGOs from across Australia to discuss the emerging issues in environmental water management. The emphasis of this workshop was particularly on how environmental water has moved beyond the triage of drought and into the mainstream of water policy and planning. A full report of the workshop will be placed on the Melbourne University website and I'll link to that then.

Rebecca and I surveyed the attendees at this workshop, and the consistent feedback was that there are not enough of these kinds of opportunities for frank and open discussion between people from different states and sectors. I think academia is best placed to host these kinds of forums, and we should do it much more often.

2015 saw the publication of my first book chapter, co-authored with Dustin Garrick (who recently released his own great book on water resource management in the Murray Darling, Colorado and Columbia Basins), looking at the role of private organisations in environmental watering in Australia and the US. Not to give too much away, but we conclude that a combination of private and public organisations can generate the maximum efficacy, as well as long term legitimacy, for environmental watering.

Most recently, Barry Hart and I published a brief article in The Conversation on the future challenges facing water resource planning in northern Australia. I'll republish that article in full in the next post.

So it's been a busy couple of years, and there's a lot of exciting stuff happening this year - fingers crossed I find time to write about it!

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