WRaIN: Water Research and Innovation Network

Our Mission

WRaIN recognises that water issues are rarely able to be defined as a single problem within a single discipline. Such narrow approaches have been marked with failure in the past precisely because people have been blind to the links between scientific and social factors. Our vision is much clearer.

We recognise that water must be considered a shared problem if it is to be managed successfully for both environments and people.

Our research integrates:

Water management is ridden with conflict both nationally here in Australia and also internationally. Water continues to be managed to meet competing demands and these contests frequently end in failure and with more losers than winners. In Australia, as in many other colonised countries, historical traditions and philosophies of water management practiced in Europe have been inappropriately transplanted. The next generation of regulation seeks to employ the mechanism of the market and water trading to effect better social, economic and environmental outcomes, and also to meet the challenges of climate change. However these measures could also fail if the conflicting values and viewpoints about water and biophysical limits of the landscape are not more fully understood. The Water Research and Innovation Network at UNE are working to ensure that we amend past failures and deliver success in the future. We can do this because the researchers within WRaIN have the innovative minds and interdisciplinary skills required to address water as an integrated problem in order to:

  • achieve high impact results by carrying out research relevant to communities and current water research agendas
  • establish, maintain and strengthen links with regional and rural industries and communities by incorporating research results into tools and systems for sustainable water management
  • develop education programs that integrate the environmental, policy and cultural evidence for sustainable water management.

We bring the disciplines together for interdisciplinary research conducted within our identified research themes:

  • Improving the process of structural adjustment of rural and regional communities, agriculture, economies and environments to build community confidence in water management
  • Developing models for good governance that include decision-making processes, designing institutions, integrated policy, planning and policy, community confidence, social license, evaluation and auditing
  • Water wisdom – to use the best available scientific knowledge to inform debate on the sustainable levels of water extraction, entitlements and allocation.

We also are focused on an agenda of cross-cutting themes including the policy-science interface, risk management and questions of scale and jurisdiction.


We welcome you to join us, whether for undergraduate or post-graduate training, participation in our research and development programs, or to contact us for consultancies or collaboration. Contribute to the future of Australia and our water systems.

Dr Darren Ryder (Water Resources)

Dr Stephen Harris (Water Stories)

Dr Robyn Bartel (Water Policy)