Melita Grant is a Research Principal at the Institute for Sustainable Futures specialising in integrated water resources management (IWRM), and water, sanitation and hygiene (WASH) in international development, with a focus on evidence-based policy and practice. Melita has worked for over 15 years’ in government, university, and civil society sectors. With an academic background in Political Science and Environmental Management, Melita has expertise in water governance, regulation and policy development, and has applied this in Australian, Southeast Asian, and South Asian contexts. She has a technical background in rural water management policy; urban water conservation/demand management technologies, behaviours and policy; transboundary water politics; and integrated water resources management through roles at the NSW Office of Water, the Office of the NSW Minister for Water, and local government.
Melita is the gender and social inclusion (GESI) Expert Review Panelist for the Australian Water Partnership, and has managed projects related to GESI and water resources management and WASH in Timor-Leste, Viet Nam and Cambodia. As a member of the Australian Water Partnership funded River Basin Planning Project in India, Melita engaged government agencies across several states in India, the Indian Central Government, and river basin planning stakeholders to consult on how river basin planning processes and institutional arrangements could be strengthened in India, and made more inclusive.
Melita has recently led a number of research projects focused on rural water governance in Viet Nam and Cambodia, with a focus on small privately owned piped systems. She has also worked within the food-water nexus through roles such as with Oxfam Australia, where she managed partnerships, community engagement and advocacy initiatives related to food sustainability and sovereignty issues. Melita has extensive experience in designing, implementing and evaluating stakeholder and community engagement within civil society organisations.
Working in the Department of Political Economy at the University of Sydney, Melita taught ‘Human Rights in International Development’ to Masters Students in 2010. She holds a Bachelor of Arts - Government (Honours first class) from Sydney University, and a Master of Environment from The University of Melbourne.
- Member of Expert Review Panel: Australian Water Partnership (Gender Equality and Social Inclusion Expert) – 2018 – present
- Executive Committee Member: Australian WASH Reference Group – 2016 – present
Grant, ML, Dominish, E, Carrard, N, Bui, L, Ha, H, Nghiem, T & Willetts, J 2016, 'Reducing or increasing inequalities? The role of private water enterprises in rural Viet Nam', Development Bulletin, vol. 77, no. August 2016, pp. 31-36.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Extreme inequalities are recognised as being detrimental to
human rights and economic development (Stiglitz 2012),
and in response, the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development
has explicitly included addressing inequalities as one
of the 17 Global Goals. In order to reduce inequalities an
integrated approach across multiple dimensions of human
development is required, including access to safe water.
This research investigated stakeholder perceptions of
rural piped water services in Viet Nam to better understand
issues of equality, access and affordability. It asked the
question: can poor households access piped water services
provided by small scale private enterprises in rural Viet
Nam? This question is important because little is known
about whether or not poor households access piped water
services, related issues of affordability of connection fees
and tariffs, and other potential barriers. It is also important
because private enterprises are increasingly providing piped
water services in Viet Nam, supported by incentives from
Government and international donors including some civil
society organisations (CSOs)
Willetts, J, Grant, M, Carrard, N, Bui, L, Doan The, L, Pham Thi, D & Dinh Van, D 2017, 'Good Water Governance for Inclusive Growth and Poverty Reduction', OzWater 2017, Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This research demonstrates the existence of inequitable outcomes in provision of piped water services by both private and other service providers in rural Vietnam. This study is the first of its kind in Vietnam, providing robust scientific evidence on who accesses water services from private enterprises. Qualitative research in 60 communes was followed by a quantitative study in six locations. A policy and regulatory review was also conducted, in addition to an assessment of enterprise motivators, enablers and challenges. The study highlights the need for effective regulatory mechanisms to ensure inclusive water service delivery in rural Vietnam.
Carrard, N, Grant, M, Willetts, JR, Bui Ha, L, Nghiem, T, Thu Ha, N & Tran, N 2016, 'Are poor households connecting? Private water enterprises in rural Viet Nam', WASH Futures International Conference.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
This discussion paper is intended to contribute to the implementation of the High Level Panel on Water
(HLPW) Action Plan. It should be read alongside other framing notes commissioned by the Australian
Water Partnership.4 The key points of intersection with the High Level Panel on Water Action Plan are
shown in Figure 1. This Discussion Paper identifies and explains key areas of action for the High Level
Panel on Water and other international development actors and governments. The paper provides a
range of case studies, and the implications for improving policy and practice are outlined. This paper
focuses primarily on the HLPW Action Plan's 'Water Governance' and 'Universal Access to Safe Water and
Chong, J, Kome, A, Murta, J, Willetts, JR & Grant, M 2017, Exploring smart enforcement within urban sanitation, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Leahy, C, Lunel, J, Grant, M & Willetts, JR 2017, Women in WASH Enterprises: Learning from female entrepreneurship in Cambodia, Indonesia and Lao PDR, Institute for Sustainable Futures, University of Technology Sydney.View/Download from: UTS OPUS
Grant, M, Huggett, C, Willetts, J & Wilbur, J Australian Water Partnership 2016, Gender and SDG 6: The Critical Connection. A Framing Paper developed for the High Level Panel on Water, Sydney, Australia.View/Download from: UTS OPUS