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Daniel Connell

Visiting Fellow, Environment and Development Program



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Dr Daniel Connell’s research focusses on the governance issues involved in managing modified hydrological systems that cross borders - international and also in multi-level political systems such as Australia, the United States, the European Union, China, India, South Africa, Brazil and Indonesia. Subjects of interest include different approaches to achieving water reform and culture change, the management of conflict between stakeholders, environmental justice, public participation, gender, cultural change, institutional design, the challenges involved in managing groundwater and sanitation, people displaced by large projects, water transfers between catchments and across borders, water markets and the challenges being exacerbated by climate change.


Present — March 2007 - Research Fellow Crawford School of Public Policy ANU. Responsibilities include:-

  • Research into governance issues in multi-level political systems focusing on countries such as Australia, the United States, South Africa, Spain, India, China and Brazil, international trans-boundary issues in the Mekong River Basin and water reform in the Murray-Darling Basin and northern Australia with a focus on governance, institutional design and community participation,
  • Development and teaching of a post graduate course, Environmental Policy and Communications (EMDV 8007)
  • Coordination of the masters degree research stream in the Environment and Development Program.
  • Participation in the public debate about water planning and institutional reform in the Murray-Darling Basin.
  • International Director Education UNESCO Water Chair.

Present — 1984 Oral historian (freelance in parallel with other work) working for the National Library of Australia, the Australian War Memorial, Old Parliament House, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, the Australian National University, the Australian Bureau of Statistics etc. In recent years the work for the National Library and the Murray-Darling Basin Commission has focused on policy makers, managers, and infrastructure operators active in water management in the Murray-Darling Basin over the past 50 years.

2007 - 2006 – Land and Water Australia funded fellowship to undertake a comparative study of water planning in the Daly River catchment in the Northern Territory, Victoria’s Goulburn-Broken catchment and South Australia’s Riverland.

2006 - 2005 - three-month publishing fellowship awarded by the Centre for Resource and Environmental Studies to rework my PhD for publication by Federation Press.

2005 - 2002 - PhD thesis titled The Chariot wheels of the Commonwealth. It examined the history of cross border water policy and management in the Murray-Darling Basin and used the principles contained in Australia’s National Water Initiative to critique the institutional framework in place in the region. In parallel the adequacy of the NWI was assessed in terms of its capacity to respond effectively to the major issues that confront water managers in the MDB. This was then placed within the wider debate about optimum pathways to implementation.

2002 – 1994 Murray-Darling Basin Commission – communications and community relations activities which included liaison with print and electronic news media, project and event management, audio and video documentary production, corporate writing activities, management of MDBC Annual Reports 1997-2002 and oral history projects and editing and project management of numerous publications ranging from posters and pamphlets, CDs and videos to books.

1994 – 1993 Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade – journalist contributing to and editing various publications.

Pre 1992 Australian Broadcasting Corporation – journalist producing radio features in the Social History Unit in Radio National. Before that I was a radio and television producer in the Educational Broadcasting Department, producing programs for primary and secondary schools. This included secondments to Papua New Guinea for three periods totaling eight years in the 1970s and 80s. There I worked as a broadcaster, manager and trainer in the Australian Broadcasting Commission (as it was then) and the PNG National Broadcasting Commission, as the director of the third South Pacific Festival of Arts (Pt Moresby 1980) during its planning phase, and as the first director of a media unit attached to a World Bank rural development project in the southern highlands (1982-84).

Updated:  28 May 2022/Responsible Officer:  Crawford Engagement/Page Contact:  CAP Web Team