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Collaborative water planning in Australia’s tropical north

The collaborative water planning project, led by Griffith University's Associate Professor Poh-Ling Tan, has recently completed a three year study looking at water planning.
Collaborative water planning in Australia’s tropical north

photo courtesy Ed Attard

Project team members include Sue Jackson, John Mackenzie, Sharna Nolan and James Whelan with contributions from Peter Oliver, IWC.

From case-studies of the Ord, Western Australia and the Gulf catchments, Northern Queensland, the study identified barriers and enablers to water planning. Applying this information, the team worked in western Cape York, Qld and Howard Springs near Darwin, Northern Territory to identify stakeholder interests and address issues of concern.

In doing so the project promoted tools for community engagement in water planning in northern Australia and provided legal and policy recommendations for water planning.

In particular, the project trialled a participatory visualisation tool for improving the understanding of groundwater systems amongst the community. Evaluations showed that the participatory nature of this tool was able to build trust in sources of scientific data and give the community a holistic, more regional perspective of the groundwater systems.

Researchers also worked with Traditional Owner groups in the Archer and Mitchell catchments in Queensland to further develop principles and protocols for Indigenous engagement in water planning.

Key findings and project reports are available on

Project partners were Griffith University and CSIRO, working as part of the Tropical Rivers and Coastal Knowledge Research Hub.




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