Murray-Darling Basin: Conservation and Law
Better wetland conservation law can be informed by lessons from Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin. The legal character of water entitlements is critical for ensuring that water is available to adequately sustain wetlands. Better management has been informed by national harmonization of water data collection and providing public access to this information. An independent statutory manager of environmental water in the Federal Government has ensured that environmental water is protected are used to conserve wetlands. Domestic law has been considerably strengthened by drawing on international treaties, especially the Ramsar Convention on Wetlands. Overlapping roles of federal and state governments have hindered some conservation initiatives but have also ensured some level of wetland conservation continues at one level of government when the other level of government does not do so. As direct government action has become more financially and politically constrained, businesses, community organizations, and Indigenous peoples have been enabled to play greater roles in conservation of wetlands. This broader approach to wetlands governance has generated more innovative approaches and stakeholder support for wetland conservation.
KeywordsAustralia Business sector Conservation reserves Environmental law Federal government Indigenous peoples Murray-Darling Basin Non-government organizations Ramsar Convention on Wetlands River basin management Water entitlements Water law water markets Wetlands conservation
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