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LAW8714 Water Resources Law

Semester 1, 2019 Online
Short Description: Water Resources Law
Units : 1
Faculty or Section : Faculty of Business, Education, Law and Arts
School or Department : School of Law and Justice
Student contribution band : Band 3
ASCED code : 090900 - Law
Grading basis : Graded


Examiner: Bob Zhao

Other requisites

Students are required to have access to a personal computer, e-mail capabilities and Internet access to UConnect. Current details of computer requirements can be found at


The recognition of the scarcity of water has elevated the legal and political significance of the management and sharing of water resources. Water Resources Law aims to give graduate students an advanced knowledge of the legal frameworks for sharing water resources in Australia under State and Territory law. Students will develop advanced writing and communication skills in the detailed articulation of the legal and policy aspects of water resources management. The course is available in the Master of Laws, Juris Doctor and Bachelor of Laws Honours.


Water Resources Law deals with historical observations on the evolution and development of Australian water resource policy reform; the establishment of statutory water resource planning and the transition to new water access rights regimes; water access rights at common law; the contemporary statutory foundations of water access rights; the water resource planning system; and the law and policy of water trading in Australia. It is delivered intensively in four seminars over two weeks (two seminars in each of two weeks), and will involve closely supervised research assignments.


On successful completion of this course students should be able to:

  1. evaluate developments in the law, concepts and theories of water resource management in Australia, and examine the relationship between those developments and contemporary practice
  2. develop critical awareness of the strengths and weakness of common law rights to water
  3. define and describe water access entitlements, and gain the skills to analyse the rights and obligations conferred by access entitlements
  4. understand and evaluate water resource planning and water trading in Australia
  5. undertake, interpret and evaluate legal research using advanced legal research methodologies and techniques relevant to water resources management
  6. articulate advanced knowledge of water resources management law in written or oral presentation.


Description Weighting(%)
1. Australian water resource policy reform 25.00
2. Water access rights 25.00
3. Water resource planning 25.00
4. Water trading. 25.00

Text and materials required to be purchased or accessed

ALL textbooks and materials available to be purchased can be sourced from USQ's Online Bookshop (unless otherwise stated). (

Please contact us for alternative purchase options from USQ Bookshop. (

There are no texts or materials required for this course.

Reference materials

Reference materials are materials that, if accessed by students, may improve their knowledge and understanding of the material in the course and enrich their learning experience.
Gardner, A, Bartlett, R & Gray, J 2017, Water resources law, 2nd edn, LexisNexis Butterworths, Chatswood, New South Wales.
National Water Commission 2011, Water markets in Australia: a short history, viewed 05 September 2018,

Student workload expectations

Activity Hours
Directed Study 65.00
Independent Study 100.00

Assessment details

Description Marks out of Wtg (%) Due Date Notes
RESEARCH ESSAY 50 50 10 Jun 2019

Important assessment information

  1. Attendance requirements:
    There are no attendance requirements for this course. However, it is the students' responsibility to study all material provided to them or required to be accessed by them to maximise their chance of meeting the objectives of the course and to be informed of course-related activities and administration.

  2. Requirements for students to complete each assessment item satisfactorily:
    To satisfactorily complete an individual assessment item a student must achieve at least 50% of the marks. (Depending upon the requirements in Statement 4 below, students may not have to satisfactorily complete each assessment item to receive a passing grade in this course.)

  3. Penalties for late submission of required work:
    Students should refer to the Assessment Procedure (point 4.2.4)

  4. Requirements for student to be awarded a passing grade in the course:
    To be assured of receiving a passing grade a student must achieve at least 50% of the total weighted marks available for the course.

  5. Method used to combine assessment results to attain final grade:
    The final grades for students will be assigned on the basis of the aggregate of the weighted marks obtained for each of the summative assessment items in the course.

  6. Examination information:
    There is no examination in this course.

  7. Examination period when Deferred/Supplementary examinations will be held:
    Not applicable.

  8. University Student Policies:
    Students should read the USQ policies: Definitions, Assessment and Student Academic Misconduct to avoid actions which might contravene University policies and practices. These policies can be found at

Assessment notes

  1. Referencing in assignments: Students studying this course must use the Australian Guide to Legal Citation (AGLC) style. For AGLC style guide enquiries, consult the AGLC manual from the USQ Library's referencing guide at, or contact the Law librarian.