Stakeholders' engagement and interaction as paths for better water planning and management: experiences under the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan

Barbosa, Marina Costa and Mushtaq, S. and Alam, K. (2012) Stakeholders' engagement and interaction as paths for better water planning and management: experiences under the development of the Murray-Darling Basin Plan. In: 2nd Practical Responses to Climate Change National Conference: Water and Climate: Policy Implementation Challenges (PRCC 2012), 1-3 May 2012, Canberra, Australia.


The Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) is Australia's major inland river system. A historical management focused on increasing agricultural production resulted in a current scenario of over-allocation and ecological decline. To ensure that the basin's water resources are managed in an integrated and sustainable way, the Murray-Darling Basin Plan (Basin Plan) has been developed, under the Water Act 2007. This paper aims to analyse the stakeholders' engagement process and institution interaction under the development of the Basin Plan and provide recommendations to enhance water planning and management. After the release of the Guide to the Basin Plan, a lack of effective interaction and public participation was identified. One year later, the Draft to the proposed Basin Plan was released and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority (MDBA) changed the interaction and consultation approach. However, it is still early to know if this change will be enough. Anyway, a fundamental concern remains about the implementation of the Basin Plan. Implementation challenges are common in water planning and management, and previous studies correlated difficulties in implementing water policies due to weak institutional arrangements and ineffective stakeholders' engagement during the planning process. Attention should be paid on periodic collecting stakeholders' feedback. This would provide practical guidance for the continuous process of management. The effort to pursue an interactive and collaborative approach should be done since the beginning of the planning process. Although, as the planning and management processes are cyclical, there is always opportunity to improve interaction. This study identified the need of a robust framework for assessing key stakeholders' perceptions, expectations and concerns regarding interactions among governance structures and the engagement process in the MDB. It is also important to increase stakeholders' confidence in the planning process and cyclic learn from past and present experiences. The idea is that a better understanding about stakeholders' perceptions can help to anticipate future implementation challenges of the Basin Plan.

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Item Type: Conference or Workshop Item (Commonwealth Reporting Category E) (Paper)
Refereed: Yes
Item Status: Live Archive
Additional Information: Permanent restricted access to published version due to publisher copyright policy.
Faculty / Department / School: Historic - Faculty of Business and Law - No Department
Date Deposited: 28 Jan 2013 07:50
Last Modified: 26 Jun 2017 01:46
Uncontrolled Keywords: water management; irrigation; hydrology; Australia
Fields of Research : 14 Economics > 1402 Applied Economics > 140205 Environment and Resource Economics
15 Commerce, Management, Tourism and Services > 1503 Business and Management > 150303 Corporate Governance and Stakeholder Engagement
16 Studies in Human Society > 1605 Policy and Administration > 160507 Environment Policy
Socio-Economic Objective: D Environment > 96 Environment > 9609 Land and Water Management > 960913 Water Allocation and Quantification

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