This is one in a series of four reports that examine how the diverse values placed on water have shaped the development and management of water resources in the Murray Darling River Basin. The report tells a story of how Australia’s First Nations communities and their cultural values are included in the management of water in Australia’s Murray-Darling Basin. It explores themes regarding the recognition or identification of First Nations water values, how these values are considered in decision making, and the protection of these values. Connection to land and waters is fundamental to the cultural values of First Nations people and there is increasing progress in recognising and involving First Nations in restoring sustainable management as Australia continues its journey of dealing with increasing water demands in a highly variable and changing climate. However, only in recent decades has there been a move towards legal and moral recognition of ownership of the lands and waters occupied by its many nations before colonisation of Australia from 1788.
The report looks at the inclusion of First Nations values and perspectives in water management across the Basin through various statutory mechanisms, tailored engagement processes and mainstream community engagement activities. The case study concludes with some general lessons about efforts in the Murray-Darling River Basin to recognise, assess and realise Indigenous cultural values associated with water that may be useful for others.
Valuing Water: Cultural values (PDF, 10MB)
Access the other reports in this series below: