Water Law and Climate Change (LAWS6191)


This unit of study recognises the threat of climate change to global water resources including Australia. The question is asked whether regulation or market-based measures, such as trading schemes, are best placed to deal with such a scarce resource. In the Australia context, the unit details arrangements at the Federal and State government levels to reform the sector - going back to 1994 - particularly in the Murray Darling Basin, within the context of broader economic reform and the National Competition Policy framework. The most recent legislative instrument to manage the Basin is the cross-jurisdictional Basin Plan which has had a difficult history. Attempts to manage the Basin are compared with management of another cross-jurisdictional water system - the Mekong River Basin. In the urban context, the unit addresses the corporatisation of water utilities and competition in the water service market including the possible implications of free trade agreements. This unit provides a fascinating case study of how science, economics, law and politics all come together in a clash of values and expectations to determine the best way to manage a scarce resource.

Our courses that offer this unit of study

Further unit of study information


Oct 20, 21 & 27, 28 (9-5)


class participation (20%) and 7000wd essay (80%)

Faculty/department permission required?


Study this unit outside a degree

Non-award/non-degree study

If you wish to undertake one or more units of study (subjects) for your own interest but not towards a degree, you may enrol in single units as a non-award student.

Cross-institutional study

If you are from another Australian tertiary institution you may be permitted to underake cross-institutional study in one or more units of study at the University of Sydney.