National Water Initiative

A man and a woman standing by a dam at Mulligans Flat. Recognising Aboriginal values in water resource planning

Healthy Country plays a key role in delivering outcomes in the National Water Initiative and Murray Darling Basin Plan, which recognises Aboriginal and Torres Strait Islander people as legitimate stakeholders in water management and acknowledges the importance cultural water flows provides to improving spiritual, environmental, social and economic benefits to Aboriginal nations.

Aboriginal values of water resources Aboriginal people view rivers holistically as a part of Country, which is linked to customary beliefs related to wildlife, lore and land management. The rivers form a part of the cultural landscape and are spiritually related to songlines, pathways and ceremony. River corridors provide travel routes and a wide variety of flora and fauna as a readily available food source. It is important that Traditional Custodians can access rivers to teach younger generations about Country, and future land management. In the ACT, the majority of recorded campsites are within 100 metres of a river, and the Murrumbidgee and Molonglo Rivers helped connect the Ngunnawal, Ngambri, Wiradjuri, Yuin and Ngarigo peoples.

Visit ACT Water Strategy and Murray Lower Darling Rivers First Nations to learn more about the National Water Initiative.