Murray-Darling Basin Authority chief executive Phillip Glyde said new research highlighted the opportunities and challenges for water managers in incorporating cultural flows into Australia’s water management framework.
Mr Glyde congratulated the National Cultural Flows Research Committee on its ‘‘comprehensive research’’.
‘‘The MDBA has supported this research from the start because we recognise the critically important role that Aboriginal people play in designing strong water management practices and policies in Australia, including in the Murray-Darling Basin,’’ he said.
‘‘The basin plan is all about securing a sustainable future for the environment, as well as for the industries and communities of the basin.
‘‘The plan requires us to ensure Aboriginal interests are considered in ongoing water planning, management and monitoring activities and research like this informs how we can go about that in a meaningful way.
‘‘Cultural flows are water entitlements that are legally owned and managed by Aboriginal people to improve their spiritual, cultural, environmental, social and economic conditions.’’
Mr Glyde said the research had demonstrated the link between culture, ecology and social wellbeing for the first time.
‘‘It finds that cultural flows and environmental flows are not the same thing but can complement each other,’’ he said.
‘‘The MDBA already has work under way to better integrate Aboriginal expertise into Murray-Darling Basin water management. For example, the MDBA provides support and funding for two dedicated peak representative bodies, the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations and the Murray Lower Darling Rivers Indigenous Nations, who have partnered on this research.
‘‘We have agreed and formalised a process with these two organisations to ensure the views and interests of Aboriginal people in the basin are reflected in water resource plans that detail the water rules and take effect from July 1, 2019.’’