Implementing fairness along the river: Managing environmental water in NSW catchments

Stream: Panel 40 - Environmental Politics: From Rivers to the Sea: Local Perspectives on Resources, Environment and Justice in Eastern Australia
Date: Tuesday, 27 September 2016
Time: 2.00 pm – 3.30 pm


Australia’s water reforms over the past couple of decades have resulted in significant considerable volumes of environmental water. The focus has now shifted from acquiring water to managing it for the best environmental outcomes possible. As a majority of riparian areas in Australia is under private tenure, environmental water management must have the active cooperation of private landholders to achieve its ecological outcomes. However environmental water causes specific and substantial burdens and benefits to different groups of stakeholders and thus its management must effectively navigate an array of vested interests to achieve ‘fair’ outcomes to ensure its operations. In the state of New South Wales, environmental water is managed by the state government with the help of Environmental Water Advisory Groups made up of a wide representation of local interests. In this paper, we explore the perceptions of environmental, government, irrigator and grazing representatives, which demonstrate conflicting principles over how environmental water should be distributed. We detail how government water managers reconcile competing distributive principles of equity (ensuring that no one is disproportionally affected or benefits unduly), need (achieving environmental outcomes) and efficiency (prioritizing operational feasibility) in order to maintain the social acceptability of environmental water.


Anna Lukasiewicz (Presenter), ANU
Anna is currently a Research Fellow at ANU College of Law and associated with Fenner School of Environment and Society at the Australian National University. She has a PhD from Charles Sturt University in Natural Resource Management, a Masters in Social Science (International Development) from RMIT and a Bachelor of International Studies from the Flinders University of South Australia. With this interdisciplinary background focusing on all things sustainability, Anna has spent the last couple of years developing the Social Justice Framework, an empirically-grounded guide for incorporating justice and fairness into environmental and natural resource management.

Lain Dare, University of Canberra
Lain is a Senior Research Fellow at the Institute for Governance and Policy Analysis (IGPA) at the University of Canberra. Lain is a social scientist with a strong background in resource management. She undertakes a range of research projects across various rural and regional sectors, including community engagement, environmental and regional governance, community development, policy evaluation and analysis, socio-economic impact analyses, community wellbeing and resilience studies