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Environmental law and its impact on the environment


Discuss about the Environmental Law and Issue.

Environmental law is the collective term for all valid statutes, treaties, customary and common laws, regulations, etc. that prevent environment from further damage by addressing harmful activities carried out by humans in a lawful manner, ensuring safety and protection. The basic message of most environmental laws is to address the dire situation of pollution affecting the planet quite drastically. Another series of regulatory terminologies, better known for the protection of natural and minerals, also has a strong effect on the overall position of the environmental laws as a whole (Percival et al,2015). There are several other categories as well that effect the environmental laws greatly.

Every day the population of Australia increases exponentially, it is not a coincidence that 70% of seafood consumption in Australia is imported from foreign lands and not from Queensland and Victoria which each hold significant bodies of water that have be known for their diverse pelagic species. Electricity bills for seafood producers have   rocketed and the infrastructure to support the seafood producing plants have to be maintained extensively and not just that, landfill construction below the Sidney Basin have come to a temporary halt (Goldie and Betts, 2014). The root of these problems rests with the extensive growth of Australia’s population which without a doubt, compromises the availability of food, water, fresh air and also other non-environmental things like education. The population burst and the high rate of the Australian dollar coupled with the ever-increasing heat and drought, results to the degradation of the environment and also the reduction of necessary resources for survival (Mora, 2014). It can be seen via various recent studies that since 2010, the rate of migration has increased by 20% and in most Australian states and localities, 80% of total area is supposedly dominated by the extra migrants together with the residents. This phenomenon would not just result in the loss of food and water but also the reduction of free land and land free from fragmentation which is considered wild which. This mass-migration leads to deforestation and a very significant damage to the environment, scarring it for eternity. If such situations (mass-migration and land fragmentation) are not controlled quickly, then environmental degradation as a result of these issue will continue to increase, leaving the Australian environment and economy in shambles.   

In the country of Australia, The Environment Protection, and Biodiversity Conservation Act 1999 (EPBC Act) is one of the main pieces of legislation that controls the set of environmental laws as a whole (Uniyalet al, 2016). The EPBC Act provides a framework to legally protect the precious floral and faunal factors of the ecological environment. The Act also focuses on specifying places of great heritage, environmental importance as they are listed by reference to threatened species or places of heritage of environmental importance. The purpose of the EPBC Act is, Conservation of Australian Biodiversity, maintaining a proper assessment on the environment in a streamlined basis, promotion of sustainable development, etc.

Water resource management challenges in Australia

The main topic of discussion in this project would be management of water resources as a whole in the Australian continent and the various laws affecting it. Australia has always faced major issues in maintaining sustainability in water supply while facing drying climatic conditions, drought and escalating demand for drinking water. Responding to that, the Government provided federal leadership in water policy and several legal legislation reforms for all Australian citizens. (Water Act. 2007 helps the metrological department of Australia in providing weather related data) Australia leads other nations when taking into consideration its various approaches in the management of water resource (Froscioet al, 2016). Several pieces of legislation such as the Water Act 2007, provide proper water marketing system and maintaining the system for sale and purchase. The Australian Government pledges to develop the water reform policies, in order to ensure the most sustainable use of its resources unlike any other nation in the world.

The State and Federal Government have provided a series of legislation designed not only to help in the sustainable use of water in the country, but have also played a major role in protecting the resource and its utility, some of the acts are:

Water Act, 2007: The said act started on the 3rd of September, 2007 and was later amended by the famous Water Amendment Act of 2008 on the 8th of December, 2008, which followed the Memorandum of Understanding discussed and professed in March 2008 considering the Murray–Darling Basin Reforms and the Intergovernmental Agreement on the stated and discussed reform on July 2008 (Docker and Robinson, 2014). In addition to starting up the MDBA the Water Act also: 

  • Provides functional duties with respect to charge of water and rules of water market to the Australian Competition and Consumer Commission (ACCC).
  • Maintains the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder (CEWH).
  • Provides functional relation to water information to the Bureau of Meteorology.

For example, the water act provides water licensing and proper water marketing system to benefit proper legal use of the resource and its sustainability.

Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act, 2005: Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act (WELS) is one of Australia's efficiency of water and its labelling schemes that deals with certain products that are to be registered and then labeled along with their respective efficiency of water in accordance with the standardized set framework under the national Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act started in the year 2005. The WELS and its scheme completed its successive fifth year of operating brilliance in the year 2009-10. Upholding consistently with the requirements presented in the section 76 of the said Water Efficiency Labelling and Standards Act 2005, an independent review of the scheme's first five years of operation was undertaken (Lowet al, 2015). The review was required to consider the appropriateness, effectiveness and efficiency of the scheme and made recommendations for its improvement.

The Water Act 2007 and its impact on water resource management

This act creating a system of security by which water from different resources are labeled according to their pollutant content.

Water Regulation, 2008: The Regulations commenced on 30 June 2008 and give effect to a range of matters provided for in the Water Act 2007. Part 7 of the Water Regulations deals with water information. It sets out the detailed requirements of the water information framework established by the Water Act 2007. It defines who must give specified water information to the Bureau, and the time and format in which it must be given. The Regulations individually name over 200 organizations which are required to give the Bureau specified water information that is in their possession, custody or control (Radcliffe, 2015). The Bureau has an open and transparent approach to maintaining and developing Part 7 of the Regulations.

The regulations provide proper water custody and guides authorities in to provide drinking water judiciously considering the resources in the country.

Water Market Rules, Reports, and Charges: The Australian reports for the water market 2015–16 show very distinctive but comprehensive annual statistical report on activities regarding water trading all across the Australian continent betwee?n the 2007–08 and 2015–16. The report describes the supply and demand of water and the various conditions that affect them. Trade volumes and market prices for all surface water and groundwater markets in Australian Continent are also kept in check.

The implementation, safeguard, initiative, reformation and any other activity of national significance falls on the shoulders of the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), same can be said that the same council takes decisions regarding the reforms of water as well. Since the year 2004, the COAG has taken multiple initiatives on the development of water as a resource and its reformation, such as:

  1. Appropriate pricing of water, its storage and its delivery.
  2. Expansion of water trade
  3. Provisional water plans for environmental safety.
  4. Redirecting stress from burdened water systems.
  5. Management of public wants and demands.
  6. Introduction of water right registers and introducing principles and ideas for accounting of water (Davies and Wright, 2014.).

The principles along with many more have been stringently safeguarding the water system in Australia.

Considering the various laws and acts that were stated and discussed in the above sections of the project report, it can be said that the government of Australia is doing a fine job regarding the policies of water management. The various initiatives taken by the COAG were not only economically viable but were the best options that could have been taken in a worst case scenario to benefit in a long term basis (Wheeler, 2014). Considering that Australia is comparatively arid and deserted the value of water as powerful resource increases staggeringly, the EPBC act did a fine job in managing such a crisis in the best possible manner without harming the basic human requirements. Though, not all plans are perfect, for even better water management development, rain harvesting can be practiced in a large scale, the government can establish provisions for house to have water storage facilities driven off of rain harvesting (Peterson, 2016). Not just that, the government can proceed with introducing river protection schemes and treatment of industrial n7 the tides of a well-developed water management project.


Population density can also lead to a disability in the water management schemes of a country, but above all else, such situations can be properly managed if the government assigns a suitable amount of capital only to be utilized for water management schemes. In addition to this, the government must always be on the lookout for implementing new, eco-friendly technologies when it comes to proper treatment of water and water based resources.


Davies, P.J. and Wright, I.A., 2014. A review of policy, legal, land use and social change in the management of urban water resources in Sydney, Australia: A brief reflection of challenges and lessons from the last 200 years. Land Use Policy, 36, pp.450-460.

Docker, B. and Robinson, I., 2014. Environmental water management in Australia: experience from the Murray-Darling Basin. International Journal of Water Resources Development, 30(1), pp.164-177.

Froscio, S.M., Bolton, N., Cooke, R., Wittholz, M. and Cunliffe, D., 2016. The South Australian Safe Drinking Water Act: summary of the first year of operation. Journal of water and health, 14(3), pp.460-470.

Goldie, J. and Betts, K. eds., 2014. Sustainable futures: linking population, resources and the environment. Csiro Publishing.

Low, K.G., Grant, S.B., Hamilton, A.J., Gan, K., Saphores, J.D., Arora, M. and Feldman, D.L., 2015. Fighting drought with innovation: Melbourne's response to the Millennium Drought in Southeast Australia. Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water, 2(4), pp.315-328.

Mora, C., 2014. Revisiting the environmental and socioeconomic effects of population growth: a fundamental but fading issue in modern scientific, public, and political circles. Ecology and Society, 19(1).

Percival, R.V., Schroeder, C.H., Miller, A.S. and Leape, J.P., 2015. Environmental regulation: Law, science, and policy. Wolters Kluwer Law & Business.

Peterson, E.L., 2016. Transcontinental assessment of secure rainwater harvesting systems across Australia. Resources, Conservation and Recycling, 106

Radcliffe, J.C., 2015. Water recycling in Australia–during and after the drought. Environmental Science: Water Research & Technology, 1(5), pp.554-562.

Uniyal, S., Paliwal, R., Kaphaliya, B. and Sharma, R.K., 2016. Human Overpopulation: Impact on Environment. Environmental Issues Surrounding Human Overpopulation, 738(632), p.1.

Wheeler, S.A., 2014. Insights, lessons and benefits from improved regional water security and integration in Australia. Water Resources and Economics, 8, pp.57-78.

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