Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation : Interdisciplinary Approaches book cover
1st Edition

Water Policy, Imagination and Innovation
Interdisciplinary Approaches

ISBN 9780367352271
Published October 28, 2019 by Routledge
270 Pages 17 B/W Illustrations

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Book Description

This book explores creative interdisciplinary and potentially transformative solutions to the current stalemate in contemporary water policy design. A more open policy conversation about water than exists at present is proposed – one that provides a space for the role of the imagination and is inclusive – of the arts and humanities, relevant stakeholders, including landholders and Indigenous peoples, as well as science, law and economics.

Written for a wide audience, including practitioners and professional readers, as well as scholars and students, the book demonstrates the value of multiple disciplines, voices, perspectives, knowledges and different ways of relating to water. It provides a fresh and timely response to the urgent need for water policy that works to achieve sustainability, and may be better able to resolve complex environmental, social and cultural water issues. Utilising a broad range of evidentiary sources and case studies from Australia, New Zealand, Canada and elsewhere, the authors of this edited collection demonstrate how new ways of thinking and imagining water are not only possible but already practised, and growing in saliency and impact. The current dominance of narrower ways of conceptualising our relationship with water is critiqued, including market valuation and water privatisation, and more innovative alternatives are described, including those that recognise the importance of place-based stories and narratives, adopt traditional ecological knowledge and relational water appreciations, and apply cutting-edge behavioural and ecological systems science.

The book highlights how innovative approaches drawing on a wide range of views may counter prevailing policy myopia, enable reflexive governance and transform water policy towards addressing water security questions and the broader challenges posed by the Anthropocene and the UN Sustainable Development Goals.

Table of Contents

Introduction: Water policy and the Anthropocene

Stephen Harris , Robyn Bartel, Jacqueline Williams and Louise Noble

Chapter 1: Blue sky thinking in water governance: Understanding the role of the imagination in Australian water policy

Louise Noble, Stephen Harris and Graham Marshall

Chapter 2: Aboriginal Rainmakers: A twentieth century phenomenon

Lorina L. Barker

Chapter 3: ‘Like Manna from Heaven?’: Just Water, History and the Philosophical Justification of Water Property Rights

A. J. Walsh

Chapter 4: Progressing from experience-based to evidence-based water resource management: Exploring the use of ‘Best Available Science’ to integrate science and policy

Darren S. Ryder

Chapter 5: Accounting for water: from past practices to future possibilities

Liz Charpleix

Chapter 6: Rethinking the Value of Water: Stewardship, Sustainability, and a Better Future.

Michael Allen Fox

Chapter 7: Stewardship arrangements for water: An evaluation of reasonable use in sustainable catchment or watershed management systems.

Mark Shepheard

Chapter 8: Water Knowledge Systems

Jacqueline Williams, Patricia Please and Lorina L. Barker

Chapter 9: Water policy for resilient agri-environmental landscapes: lessons from the Australian experience

Richard Stayner and Melissa Parsons

Chapter 10: Waterworks: Developing Behaviourally Effective Policies to Manage Household Water Use

Donald W. Hine, Lynette McLeod, and Aaron B. Driver

Chapter 11: Quixotic water policy and the prudence of place-based voices

Robyn Bartel, Louise Noble and Wendy Beck

Chapter 12: Heterotic water policy futures using place agency, vernacular knowledge, transformative learning and syncretic governance

Robyn Bartel, Louise Noble and Wendy Beck


Jacqueline Williams, Robyn Bartel, Stephen Harris and Louise Noble

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Robyn Bartel is Associate Professor in Geography and Planning at the University of New England, Australia.

Louise Noble is Adjunct Senior Lecturer in English at the University of New England, Australia.

Jacqueline Williams is Senior Research Fellow at the Australian Centre for Agriculture and Law, University of New England, Australia.

Stephen Harris is Lecturer in English at the University of New England, Australia.