Engaging communities in the Basin’s management

31 March 2016

The communities relying on the Murray–Darling Basin are very diverse in their water needs and uses. To ensure those needs are met, the Basin Plan provides a framework for communities to provide advice on the implementation of the Basin Plan as well as water management.

The 2014-15 Basin Plan annual report highlights how communities, stakeholders and water managers work together to develop water management strategies to provide economic, social and environmental benefits. The people who live and work in the Basin have a great knowledge of their region, so we want to ensure we work together to draw on local knowledge, experience and advice to implement the Basin Plan.

Community advisory groups informed the Basin annual watering priorities and the delivery of environmental water to maximise both the benefits for the environment and other water users across the Basin.  

We worked together with Aboriginal groups to improve regional water resource plans. Together, we also discussed further building on the involvement of Traditional Owners in water management and launched the Aboriginal Waterways Assessment program.  

The purpose of the Aboriginal Waterways Assessment program was to put together a consistent way of measuring and prioritising river and wetland health, and have Traditional Owners’ input to the roll-out of the Basin Plan, as well as how water is planned and managed.

The program allows users to investigate whether or not a waterway is culturally significant, how the waterway is currently used by Aboriginal people and determine the cultural stream health.

The initial Aboriginal Waterway Assessment trials were undertaken by the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations. Due to the trial’s success, the assessment is now being implemented in the ACT by the Ngunnawal Traditional Owners, in South Australia by the First Peoples of the River Murray and Mallee, and plans are underway to implement it with Traditional Owners in Victoria.

In a video released with the Basin Plan annual report, we explored the Traditional Owners participation in water planning and management within the Basin and how their involvement can educated water managers and communities about Aboriginal water needs.

Undertaking the Aboriginal Waterways Assessment on the Barwon River

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Where are the OUTCOMES for local waterways in and around the Lachlan river? Especially the lower Lachlan area and distributaries such as Willandra Creek?

Hi Mark. Probably best you chat to our engagement team and we can direct you to the best information - you can contact the team through email engagement@mdba.gov.au or call 1800 230 067.

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