TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

Science and knowledge that governments, communities, industries for sustainable use of Australia's tropical rivers and estuaries

Collaborative Water Planning: Context and Practice, Literature Review, Volume 1

TitleCollaborative Water Planning: Context and Practice, Literature Review, Volume 1
Publication TypeLiterature Review
Year of Publication2008
AuthorsTan, P-L, Jackson, S, Oliver, P, Mackenzie, J, Proctor, W, Ayre, M
ISBN Number978-1-921544-15-6
KeywordsIndigenous participation, Northern Australia

This literature review is the first in a series of three foundational documents prepared for the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge (TRaCK) Collaborative Planning Project (Volume 1).
It provides a review and analysis of the literature to provide the conceptual foundation underpinning the project. This review:
• outlines the biophysical characteristics of northern Australian rivers and catchments, their human history, current land and water use, and development pressures to which they are subject;
• chronicles the history of water management in Australia, highlighting water policy and Council of Australian Governments (CoAG) reform in this area. The discussion locates water planning within the broader field of collaborative natural resource management (NRM), and introduces concepts germane to this topic, including collaboration, power, citizen participation, social capital and social learning. The place of and limits to collaborative NRM are also discussed;
• examines citizen participation in water planning processes from both international and Australian perspectives, particularly in light of current Australian water reform and the National Water Initiative. Various paradigms in water planning ranging from ad hoc, opportunistic planning; the development of large-scale, state-funded infrastructure development, through to the use of economic instruments and socio-economic assessments, nationally consistent entitlements, inclusion of environmental flow objectives and enhanced public participation are also summarised. The notion of a spectrum of increasing citizen participation is also discussed, as are the tensions evident in the National Water Initiative between regulatory, market-based and participatory planning paradigms;
• discusses the treatment of values in NRM and water planning. It addresses the different meanings of value, sociological theories of value and methods of valuation, particularly the way decision makers recognise and understand values of various participants in water planning; • focuses on issues of Indigenous participation in water planning in Australia. The Australian Governments’ National Water Initiative aims to address Indigenous interests in water through water planning processes. Several issues are identified including negotiating between the very different ways Indigenous and non-Indigenous people know, value and talk about water; differences in social, geographical and temporal scales; appropriate representation and structures for Indigenous participation in water planning; the need for adequate resourcing to allow effective Indigenous participation; and the need to redress power imbalances that disadvantage Indigenous people in decision making. The lack of any systematic studies of the outcomes of Indigenous involvement in water resource planning in Australia and the need to develop ways to address the issues identified above are emphasised;
• explains a range of tools that may be used to reveal trade-offs, or situations that involve decisions where each choice that may be made has both advantages and disadvantages. Tools discussed include multi-criteria evaluation; the citizens’ jury; deliberative multi-criteria evaluation; consensus conferencing; deliberative polls; and focus groups;
• explores the notion of collaboration in water and natural resource planning and management, arguing that there is limited empirical evidence of the benefits of such an approach and an absence of an established framework from which to analyse and assess such evidence. A range of criteria, derived from the literature are presented as the basis for a monitoring and evaluation framework to assess collaboration in water resource planning.