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Tools to enhance public participation and confidence in the development of the Howard East aquifer water plan, Northern Territory | TRaCK: Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge

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Tools to enhance public participation and confidence in the development of the Howard East aquifer water plan, Northern Territory

TitleTools to enhance public participation and confidence in the development of the Howard East aquifer water plan, Northern Territory
Publication TypeJournal Article
Year of Publication2012
AuthorsJackson, S, Tan, P-L, Nolan, S
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Date Published02/2012 online
ISSN0022-1694
KeywordsCollaborative planning, Stakeholder analysis, Visualisation tools
Abstract

For the first time in the Northern Territory’s water management history it is facing the challenge of managing an over-allocated groundwater resource. Rapid rural residential and agricultural development in the Howard River catchment of Darwin’s hinterland has increased competition for groundwater from the bore-field that supplements the capital’s metropolitan water supply. This has generated tensions between different water users and precipitated a water allocation plan for the Howard East aquifer. Initial context analysis indicated a widespread lack of public understanding of groundwater systems and processes, leading to misconceptions about the origin of local groundwater resources, groundwater–surface water interactions, extraction rates and impacts. In addition there is a legacy of mistrust by some peri-urban community members of government-driven planning processes to manage groundwater resources. The main objective of this study was therefore to trial two planning tools suited to this context over a 15 month period: (i) an extended stakeholder analysis and (ii) the participatory development of a 3D visualisation model, via a process described as the participatory Groundwater Visualisation Tool (GVT). The tools assisted the water planning agency to better understand stakeholder needs and interests, contributed to popular scientific understandings of hydro-geological conditions and processes, as well as captured local knowledge and values in preparation for an open and effective planning process.

URLhttp://www.sciencedirect.com/science/article/pii/S0022169412001059
DOI10.1016/j.jhydrol.2012.02.007