Living Waters of the Martuwarra/Fitzroy River, Australia


The Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) in Western Australia has sustained Indigenous peoples and their societies for millennia.

The conceptual differences between Modern water paradigm, upon which state systems of water management are based, and a customary system of management have implications for water justice.

The Martuwarra (Fitzroy River) in Western Australia has sustained Indigenous peoples and their societies for millennia. A research project led by scientists at the Australian Rivers Institute, and designed with Traditional Owners of the Martuwarra, has developed powerful new insights into different ways of knowing and valuing water.

One model represents a modern water paradigm, upon which state systems of water management are based, and the other represents a customary system of management: a Living Waters paradigm that depicts the relationships between people, other beings, and the waters of the Martuwarra/Fitzroy River catchment. The differences between these two conceptual models have implications for water justice, as well as for sustainability research and socio-ecological modelling as it applies to rivers and their waters in Australia and elsewhere, or to other human-environment relationships

In addition to generating conventional research outputs, the project used art and storytelling works to depict Indigenous and western scientific ways of understanding and managing water flows.

Please click on the link below to read A Story Map of Living Water of the Martuwarra.

https://arcg.is/0OLSeb

Biography: 

Sarah Laborde is a research fellow at the Australian Rivers Institute, Griffith University, Australia. She is an environmental anthropologist with a background in water resources engineering and broad research interest in the complex and dynamic relationships within communities of humans and non-humans, especially around water places. She is currently working on a collaborative project with custodians of the Martuwarra-Fitzroy River Basin, Western Australia, and Prof Sue Jackson. She completed a Ph.D. at the University of Western Australia in 2012 with joint affiliations in environmental engineering and cultural anthropology.

17th May 2022