James Peters

James Peters

James Peters, Australia.

James Peters is a Senior Policy Officer involved in water allocation planning. His role in the development of water allocation plans includes working with the community to ensure that all values of water resources are captured and reflected in policy decisions which maximise environmental, social and economic benefits. Joseph Sullivan is an environmental professional with over 12 years’ experience in the management of water resources in South Australia. Joseph is currently employed at Natural Resources Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges where he manages projects aimed at improving the ecological health of the regions urban and rural watercourses and coastal environments. Michael Field is the Coordinator of Aboriginal Engagement within the Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges region. His role provides a liaison between other staff and Traditional Owners to ensure that cultural perspectives and objectives are embedded into natural resources management, from policy decision making through to the on-ground works.

Presentation Title: Incorporating Aboriginal Cultural Perspectives into Water Allocation Planning and Environmental Flow Delivery

In South Australia, water resources at risk due to competing demands are protected through a process of ‘prescription’. Once prescribed, water allocation plans (WAPs) are developed, and water licenses issued, ensuring water is shared between consumptive users and the environment. The Western Mount Lofty Ranges (WMLR), has experienced intense demand for water for agricultural production and public water supply, at the expense of water-dependent ecosystems. The WMLR WAP was adopted in 2013, and, as part of its implementation, aims to restore components of environmental flows across the region. SA Water, South Australia’s public water supply organisation was issued a water license following the prescription of the WMLR which included a condition that up to 16.5 GL was to be released from reservoirs annually for environmental flow purposes. Environmental flows are released from reservoirs on the Torrens, South Para and Onkaparinga rivers and the timing and volume of flows released have been carefully planned to try and mimic the flows that would have occurred under natural conditions. These flows are essential for maintaining and improving the health and long term sustainability of the aquatic and riparian ecosystems that are dependent the rivers. Monitoring of fish, macroinvertebrates, vegetation, flows and water levels in permanent pools has been undertaken to assess the ecological impacts of environmental flow releases from the reservoirs. In 2017, work is being undertaken with Traditional Owners in the WMLR to assess the cultural health of watercourses where environmental flows are being delivered. These assessments will provide an additional perspective to the current hydrological and ecological understanding of the rivers and will allow the knowledge of Traditional Owners to inform changes to the timing and volume of flow releases with the aim of improving both the ecological condition and cultural health of the river environments.

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