Baldwin, Claudia and Pretty, Grace (2005) Addressing interests and values in a consensus building framework for water allocation. In: International Conference on Engaging Communities, 14-17 Aug 2005, Brisbane, Australia.
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A participant action research approach is used to develop a best practice consensus building framework for water allocation and use in two case study sites in Queensland, Australia. Conflict resolution techniques and skills are built into the framework to ensure interests and values are addressed. Using innovative photovoice and appreciative inquiry techniques, stakeholder interests and values are identified and monitored throughout the best practice water allocation process. The framework will be evaluated and refined in conjunction with participants using an adaptive management approach. Water scarcity and sustainable use is an increasing concern on a regional, national and global level. Some 20 UN agencies have freshwater on their agenda and the issue of water conflict is such a high priority that in 2001, UNESCO and World Water Council created the Water for Peace programme to turn 'potential conflict' to 'cooperative potential' in relation to freshwater disputes. Australia’s COAG water reforms have resulted in rapid institutional change with consequential expectations on irrigators and the community to meet the challenge. The Queensland government and segments of the southern Queensland community have experienced protracted negotiations over water allocation and use over the last few years. This study expands qualitative methodological tools to contribute to best practice and community and institutional capacity to prevent and resolve conflicts in water management in agriculture and trade-offs between environmental and consumptive uses of water, and public and private interests.
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