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

Grant type

Discovery Early Career Researcher Award


Dr Erin O'Donnell (University of Melbourne)


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.

Mitchell River