First-Nations Water

First-Nations Water

NSWIC recognises and supports the traditional and cultural uses of water by Aboriginal people.

NSWIC has formally appointed a First-Nations advisor to advise the Council on First-Nations water matters, and to work on cultural water projects.   

Led by our First-Nations advisor, NSWIC is pursuing a cultural water project, which is an Indigenous-designed methodology to close-the-gap and incorporate Indigenous science and knowledge into water management. 

The ‘Billabong Restoration Project’ offers culturally-appropriate employment to care-for-country on billabongs and riparian areas. As our First-Nations advisor says: 

“Billabongs, through First Nations’ eyes, are the kidneys of the river. They produce the ‘antibiotics’ for the rivers ‘immune systems’”. 

“The Ngemba people feel empowered to work and connect with their rivers, floodplains and billabongs for all of Australia. This brings many current benefits to their society: hope, motivation, value, employment, health, education, understanding, equity and reconciliation.” 

The Project offers an important paradigm shift to recognise Indigenous science in water management, and is a significant feat of collaborations between traditional owners and our irrigation communities.  

An initial pilot of the methodology has been the subject of CSIRO research and received a NSW Landcare Award. The further rollout of the Project also has the formal support from a range of organisations, including Deadly Science, the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN), NSW Local Land Services, and leading specialists including Associate Professor Bradley Moggridge (Kamilaroi Water Scientist, University of Canberra).  

NSWIC is looking forward to progressing this Project in 2023.