Consequences of changed water management for Aboriginal Australians in the Murrumbidgee catchment, NSW

Research output: Contribution to journalArticle

Abstract

In the Murrumbidgee catchment of the Murray-Darling Basin,wetlands, rivers and other waterscapes are important features of Country for Aboriginal peoples. The Murrumbidgee River is the most heavily regulated river system in the Murray-Darling Basin.Discussion around the use of Murrumbidgee water is framed as a conflict between sustaining rural communities and using water to support ecological values, yet the voices of Aboriginal custodians are relatively unheard in this discussion. Using culturally important wetland plants as a starting point, this paper explores the understanding and perception of some Aboriginal people in relation to their Country and water. The grief of participants as they experience the degradation of their Country was palpable.The strong message that Country should be considered in its entirety—including ecological, social and cultural aspects—contrasts with current ownership and other institutional arrangements. Improving opportunities for communities and water managers to share knowledge and information, an openness to use Aboriginal wisdom, and careful ongoing management of environmental and cultural water have the potential to achieve positive cultural and ecological outcomes in the Murrumbidgee.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)169-184
Number of pages15
JournalAustralian Geographer
Volume50
Issue number2
Early online date05 Feb 2019
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - 03 Apr 2019

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