• Offered by Crawford School of Public Policy
  • ANU College ANU College of Asia and the Pacific
  • Classification Advanced
  • Course subject Environmental Management & Development
  • Areas of interest Policy Studies
  • Academic career PGRD
  • Course convener
    • Dr Ana Manero
  • Mode of delivery Online or In Person
  • Offered in Winter Session 2022
    See Future Offerings

In 2022 the class dates will be September 5 - 16.

This course explores key challenges and debates in contemporary water governance and how these relate to water (in)justice. Water is critical for all life, as well as agriculture, manufacturing, energy production and other industries. As water demand grows, systems are increasingly stressed through modification by dams, pollution and climate change. Longstanding approaches to water management have been driven by the techno-engineering solutions, while more recent paradigms aim to integrate human rights and environmental conservation.

The course, Water Justice examines how water’s benefits and costs are shared and by whom. It applies a water justice lens by drawing on the diverse literatures on social justice, environmental justice, settler-colonial relations, and gender studies. Students will consider links between water (in)justices and other forms of social inequality, and examine issues of power, conflict and equity. They will also reflect upon relevant water governance concepts including management, policy, decision-making and infrastructure. The politics that underpin water decision-making will also be examined, particularly the challenges and approaches for more equitable representation of diverse interests across communities and nations in water governance, and a fairer distribution of costs and benefits. Learning will take place through case studies that will explore politics of transboundary water bodies, unsustainable groundwater extraction, policy capture by powerful stakeholders, conflicts around water markets, and debates about dams and other large water infrastructure, among others. 

Learning Outcomes

Upon successful completion, students will have the knowledge and skills to:

  1. Explain the technical and governance challenges involved in managing water under increasing human demands and climate change pressures.
  2. Understand the interconnections between water, society and Socio-technical systems (such as energy and food), and how these can shape water governance.
  3. Analyse and critique various rationales for water management, with reference to their historical and geographical contexts.
  4. Critically assess water justice frameworks, and their relationship to similar concepts, such as equity and fairness.
  5. Apply a water justice lens to critically evaluate water management plans, water policies and decision-making processes.

Other Information

This course replaces previously offered courses, 'Water Conflicts' and 'Water Politics on a Modified Planet'.

Indicative Assessment

  1. Presentation (20 minutes) (20) [LO 1,2,3,4]
  2. Four short commentary pieces (600-800 words each) (40) [LO 2,4]
  3. Research Essay (3000 words) (40) [LO 1,2,3,4,5]

The ANU uses Turnitin to enhance student citation and referencing techniques, and to assess assignment submissions as a component of the University's approach to managing Academic Integrity. While the use of Turnitin is not mandatory, the ANU highly recommends Turnitin is used by both teaching staff and students. For additional information regarding Turnitin please visit the ANU Online website.


Combination of classes and personal study totaling approx 120 hours.

Inherent Requirements

Not applicable

Prescribed Texts



Tuition fees are for the academic year indicated at the top of the page.  

Commonwealth Support (CSP) Students
If you have been offered a Commonwealth supported place, your fees are set by the Australian Government for each course. At ANU 1 EFTSL is 48 units (normally 8 x 6-unit courses). More information about your student contribution amount for each course at Fees

Student Contribution Band:
Unit value:
6 units

If you are a domestic graduate coursework student with a Domestic Tuition Fee (DTF) place or international student you will be required to pay course tuition fees (see below). Course tuition fees are indexed annually. Further information for domestic and international students about tuition and other fees can be found at Fees.

Where there is a unit range displayed for this course, not all unit options below may be available.

6.00 0.12500
Domestic fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $4440
International fee paying students
Year Fee
2022 $6000
Note: Please note that fee information is for current year only.

Offerings, Dates and Class Summary Links

ANU utilises MyTimetable to enable students to view the timetable for their enrolled courses, browse, then self-allocate to small teaching activities / tutorials so they can better plan their time. Find out more on the Timetable webpage.

The list of offerings for future years is indicative only.
Class summaries, if available, can be accessed by clicking on the View link for the relevant class number.

Winter Session

Class number Class start date Last day to enrol Census date Class end date Mode Of Delivery Class Summary
On Campus
4646 29 Aug 2022 05 Sep 2022 09 Sep 2022 16 Oct 2022 In Person View
4647 29 Aug 2022 05 Sep 2022 09 Sep 2022 16 Oct 2022 Online View

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