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Prof Poh-Ling Tan

WATR7003 - Water governance and policy

Prof Poh-Ling Tan

Professor for Water Law and Governance and member of the Australian Rivers Institute and Law Futures Centre, Griffith University


Poh-Ling practiced law for several years in Kuala Lumpur before migrating to Australia. Since the mid 1990s her research has focused on water reform in Australia.  It investigates real-life problems facing communities, stakeholders and water agencies and provides policy advice and outcomes on national, regional and local levels.
She adopts a transdisciplinary approach to research - working with others across bio-physical and social sciences, winning several research awards/fellowships and nationally competitive funding.  Her successful research collaborations adopt culturally respectful research practices, vital in engaging with regional communities and Indigenous peoples. She has worked with many communities to improve water planning processes including a number of Indigenous communities in the NT, South Australia, and far northern and western Queensland.
Her public service includes providing water governance expertise on the Advisory Committee on Social, Economic and Environmental Sciences, Murray–Darling Basin Authority and on the OECD Water Governance Initiative.



LLB (Hons) University of Malaya; LLB (1st class Hons) QUT; PhD, ANU.


Research areas

  1. water planning, which provides a framework for decision-making by governments, users and communities
  2. Indigenous engagement in water reform
  3. the interface between science, policy and implementation.

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