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Deborah Curran

Deborah Curran - Environmental Studies

Professor & director School of Environmental Studies

Environmental Studies and LAW

Office: DTB B243b 250-472-5070
LLB (UVic 1995), LLM (U of California Berkeley 2002)
Area of expertise:
Environmental governance, watershed management, Indigenous rights, water governance, political ecology, natural resources law.

Office Hours

 By appointment only.

About Deborah Curran

Deborah's research and practice engages in the subjects of water and regional or watershed sustainability. Flowing through her research is an interest in how legal and policy structures (1) facilitate or impede us from adapting to changing ecological conditions, and (2) shape decision-making through governance processes. It is adaptive governance that assists in responding to socioecological conditions, and law—Indigenous, customary community, municipal, provincial and federal—plays a foundational role in how well any watershed community responds over time or to specific events.

Deborah is a Professor in the Faculty of Law and the Executive Director, Environmental Law Centre.

My focus over the past three years has been to evaluate how the new Water Sustainability Act in B.C. responds to weaknesses in the water management regime and the call for adaptive law, and to compare the Act to other jurisdictions undertaking water law reform.

With my colleague Val Napoleon and the Indigenous Law Research Unit, I am working on a three year project (2015-2018) on colonial and Indigenous water law in B.C. We have partnered with the Cowichan Tribes, Lower Similkameen Indian Band and Tsilhqot’in Nation to build up their respective Indigenous water laws. In the same watersheds, we are working with water purveyors and the agricultural community to examine how water license holders steward water and how colonial water law affects their behaviour. The intent is to generate information to assist these watershed communities in their integrated water planning activities, and to provide input for the implementation of the new Water Sustainability Act.

Accepting grad students?

Deborah is accepting graduate students, but does not supervise graduate students in science programs.