The cultural value of water to Australia’s First Peoples and the evidence that will influence modern day water planning and management including quantity and quality

Wednesday, 22 March 2017
Bradley Moggridge

Australia is the driest inhabited continent on earth, yet is has been the traditional lands of its original inhabitants Australia’s First Peoples for thousands of generations. Protecting water landscapes (surface and ground water) has always been a high priority for the survival in a dry landscape, and today it is no different as protecting water is also a cultural obligation. The challenge ahead for Australia’s First Peoples is to ensure their value and relationship with water is not diminished by modern day water planning. First Peoples acquire the right wisdom and traditional knowledge from their Elders and many indicate that their worldview is seeing water connected to the land and to the sky and all are viewed as inseparable, bound by traditional lore and customs for its protection. As for a people in a dry landscape, traditional knowledge of finding, re-finding and protecting water sites (quality and quantity) has been integral to their survival for so long. First Peoples water dependent cultural values include tangible and non-tangible aspects, these are being considered in some jurisdictions across Australia, and for this talk NSW is the state in focus on how the agencies are dealing with water dependent cultural values.