In profile: Kristyn Glanville, Scientia PhD Candidate

The allegations of water theft exposed on Four Corners in 2017 quickly threw regulatory issues in the Murray-Darling Basin under the spotlight. And not long afterwards, the well-publicised fish kills that occurred in the Menindee Lakes revealed the significant ecological damage occurring in the system as a result of water scarcity.

Kristyn Glanville was a working as a solicitor in environment and planning law at the time and followed these developments with interest. When an opportunity arose to apply for a UNSW Scientia Scholarship focusing on water regulation in 2020, she was quick to respond.

“I had always planned to study a PhD on environmental regulation and thought this seemed like a great opportunity to research a topical and important issue,” says Kristyn.

Kristyn was taught environment and planning law by her now-PhD supervisor, Prof Cameron Holley, during her undergraduate studies. She graduated from UNSW in 2013 with a Bachelor of Law and a Bachelor of Arts in Criminology and began working at a law firm where she was admitted as a solicitor in 2015. She also completed a Master of Law at ANU, graduating in 2016.UNSW Scientia PhD Candidate Kristyn Glanville

As a UNSW Scientia PhD Candidate, Kristyn receives career coaching, mentoring and professional development opportunities while undertaking her research on the compliance attitudes of water users in the Murray Darling Basin of NSW. She is focusing specifically on water users’ experiences when dealing with regulators and complying with water licences—and their understanding and explanations of issues such as water theft.

“Regulating and managing water usage in the Murray Darling Basin is an issue which pre-dates Federation, as each of Queensland, New South Wales, Victoria, and South Australia have relied on the river network for irrigation, transport, and environmental reasons,” said Kristyn.

“Given the impacts of drought, climate change and overallocation of water in the Basin over the past decades, building a fair regulatory system which has high levels of support and compliance will only continue to grow in importance.”

Kristyn intends to interview people in the new year as part of her research, and would be very interested to hear from any researchers with connections to relevant stakeholders in the Murray Darling Basin - including scientists, policy makers and farmers. She says that these interviews have the potential to influence the future of the Basin.

“I hope my research can help inform regulators and policy makers about strategies to support compliance and prevent issues such as water theft.”

A River Red Gum at Barmah-Millewa ForestShe says that after completing her undergraduate degrees at UNSW in 2013, completing a PhD at UNSW feels like returning home.

“It’s wonderful to be working alongside Cameron Holley who is so respected in the fields of water law and environmental law, and to have additional support from DrTariro Mutongwizo and Dr John Carr,” says Kristyn.

“The opportunity to complete a PhD as a Scientia Scholar has allowed me to undertake extra career and skills development training and attend environmental law conferences. It is a great opportunity not offered to PhD students at any other university.”

Kristyn is committed to a long and impactful career in her field and is currently on the organising Committee for the 2022 Environmental Law Doctoral Workshop – an opportunity for doctoral researchers to deepen their knowledge within a research community that will support them throughout and after their PhD studies.

After completing her PhD, she intends to sit the bar exam and become a barrister focusing on environment and planning law.


For more information on Kristyn's research, view her presentation to IWRA on water theft and compliance:  Video | Abstract and Slides 

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