Indigenous Rights and Water Resource Management: Not Just Another Stakeholder, 1st Edition (e-Book) book cover

Indigenous Rights and Water Resource Management

Not Just Another Stakeholder, 1st Edition

By Katie O'Bryan


272 pages

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Hardback: 9780815375425
pub: 2018-11-06
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pub: 2018-10-26
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In an era of climate change, the need to manage our water resources effectively for future generations has become an increasingly significant challenge. Indigenous management practices have been successfully used to manage inland water systems around the world for thousands of years, and Indigenous people have been calling for a greater role in the management of water resources. As First Peoples and as holders of important knowledge of sustainable water management practices, they regard themselves as custodians and rights holders, deserving of a meaningful role in decision-making. This book argues that a key (albeit not the only) means of ensuring appropriate participation in decision-making about water management is for such participation to be legislatively mandated. To this end, the book draws on case studies in Australia and New Zealand in order to elaborate the legislative tools necessary to ensure Indigenous participation, consultation and representation in the water management landscape.

Table of Contents


1. Indigenous Rights in the International Context

Part I: Case Study – Australia

2. History of Water Law in Australia

3. Indigenous Participation in the Development of Australian Water Management Regimes

4. Native Title as a Source of Indigenous Water Management Rights

5. Other Commonwealth Legislation as a Source of Indigenous Water Management Rights

6. Overview of State and Territory Water Management Regimes

Part II: Case Study: Victoria

7. Indigenous Involvement in Water Management – the Water Act 1989 (Vic)

8. Victorian Indigenous Rights Legislation and the Management of Water Resources

9. Indigenous Participation in Water Management via Environmental and Land Management Legislation

Part III: Case Study: Aotearoa-New Zealand

10. History of Water Law in Aotearoa-New Zealand

11. Engaging with Māori Rights: Native Title, and the Resource Management Act 1991 (NZ)

12. Treaty Settlements

Part IV: The Way Forward

13. Legislative Reform Proposals

14. Lessons to be Learned

About the Series

Indigenous Peoples and the Law

The colonial modalities which resulted in the pillaging of the ‘New World’ involved wholesale dispossession, genocidal violence and exploitation of their original inhabitants. It was not, however, until the latter part of the twentieth century that Indigenous peoples attained some degree of legal recognition. This book series focuses upon the manner in which Indigenous peoples’ experiences of law have been transformed from an oppressive system of denying rights to a site of contestation and the articulation of various forms of self-governance. Encouraging a range of theoretical, political and ethical perspectives on Indigenous peoples and the law, this book series aims to provide a comprehensive survey of the experience of Indigenous peoples and their changing relationship with national and international juridical frameworks.  

The series will include both monographs and edited collections pursuing variety a of perspectives – including, but not limited to, a concern with:

  • Law as a mechanism of power/knowledge: that is, the discursive and biopolitical strategies of Conquest, Settlement, and Empire – with a  particular interest in how the juridical was deployed to validate land appropriation in the ‘New World’ and European colonies. This might include consideration of the influence of the writings of Vattel, Blackstone, Sepulveda, Vittoria, las Casas and others in framing Indigenous populations and their lands as supposedly amenable to colonization.
  • The role of law in authorising oppression, dispossession and genocide in the colonial period, and how such juridical moments continue to shape relations between Indigenous peoples and the State. This might include consideration of: specific governmental policies and legislation that allowed for forced removal of Indigenous children; appropriation of Indigenous lands; the imposition of regimes of control through government reserves and missions; and/or the role of treaties in providing legal justification for the dispossession of Indigenous peoples.
  • Contemporary issues that confront Indigenous peoples in their dealings with law in the global present. This might include consideration of: disputes relating to resource extraction; access to justice and over-representation in the criminal justice system; cultural heritage and intellectual property claims; the recognition of Indigenous laws; land rights; the belated recognition of Indigenous rights in both ‘new’ constitutions and in international law; and/or sovereignty.

If you are interested in submitting a proposal for the series, please contact:

Mark Harris

The University of British Columbia


Colin Perrin


2 Park Square

Milton Park



OX14 4RN

Learn more…

Subject Categories

BISAC Subject Codes/Headings:
LAW / Indigenous Peoples
NATURE / Natural Resources
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Anthropology / General
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Customs & Traditions
SOCIAL SCIENCE / Indigenous Studies