The “Water Law” colloquium, on Wednesday the 5th and Thursday the 6th of January, was hosted by the UNE School of Law’s Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law (AgLaw Centre). It brought experts in water law from Brazil, Canada, China, Egypt, Iceland, South Africa and the United States together with their Australian counterparts to discuss the role of law in addressing conflicts over water.
Speakers at the colloquium examined water law and its social implications in relation to subjects such as climate change, the environment, agricultural water use, trans-boundary water flows, property rights, international waters, and energy and mining. Among the presenters were Professor Du Qun, Deputy Director of the Research Institute of Environmental Law at Wuhan University, China, speaking on “Trans-boundary water flows, conflict and the rule of law in China”, Kristín Haraldsdóttir from the Institute on Natural Resources Law at Reykjavik University, Iceland (”Property rights to water and social conflict – an example from Iceland”), and Janice Gray from the Faculty of Law at the University of NSW (”Groundwater and property: a site of contestation”).
UNE’s Professor Paul Martin, the Director of the AgLaw Centre and the convener of the colloquium, said that the discussions during the meeting would form the basis of “significant inputs” to a large international conference in South Africa in August. Papers from the colloquium will be published in the first issue of the new International Journal of Rural Law and Policy to be published mid-year by UNE’s School of Law.