Water availability and insecurity have always been part of Dr Madeleine Hartley's world, having grown up in Tamworth NSW during two major droughts and remembering when children younger than her saw drought-breaking rains for the first time. During her childhood, Madeleine also saw the fluctuating community attitudes towards water resources, from responsiveness to apathy depending on the water availability, a pattern now termed the hydro-illogical cycle.
After studying law, Madeleine pursued her interest in water resources management by undertaking a PhD in groundwater law for water use efficiency and sustainability, which included a year in Colorado. Madeleine has over 10 years' experience in water resources law and policy, spanning academia, private and in-house legal practice, government relations, policy and regulatory strategy, including as a water subject matter expert to the office of the former NSW Minister for Water. With this background, Madeleine has analysed and helped advance Australian water laws and policies from all angles.
Madeleine is a multi-award winning water lawyer who is motivated to create and implement pragmatic water law and policy frameworks. She is driven to distill and simplify complex legal and policy frameworks for the benefit of all water users and the broader public.
Madeleine's Churchill project was inspired by her experience leading the regulatory response for WaterNSW to the NSW drought between 2017-2020, which saw record low in-flows and major water insecurity across multiple NSW catchments and towns. The project integrates three critical areas of water law and policy: drought frameworks, water markets (used increasingly during drier times) and Indigenous rights to water. Through her project, Madeleine hopes to help build more climate-responsive water frameworks that address drought conditions, water market inequality and provide greater water security for all users regardless of the conditions.
When not in the office, Madeleine is likely to be outside trail running or dappling in cold water ocean swimming.
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