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Plans and

Aboriginal Water Program

Securing a future where water for Aboriginal people is embedded within the water planning and management approach in NSW.

Aboriginal water programs

About the Aboriginal Water Program

Healthy waterways are critical to the culture and wellbeing of Aboriginal communities across NSW. Water provides food, kinship, connection, recreation, stories, songlines and healing.

The department is committed to improving water management in NSW by giving greater recognition to Aboriginal water rights and interests as well as improving access to and ownership of water for cultural, spiritual, social, environmental and economic benefit to communities.

NSW Aboriginal Water Strategy

The Aboriginal Water Strategy developed with Aboriginal communities will ensure access to water resources for Aboriginal people.

Bellinger River, Mid North Coast in NSW. Image courtesy of Nathan Peckham.

Regional Aboriginal Water Committees

Committees for Aboriginal people across NSW to provide advice on water planning and management.

Aboriginal artwork by

NSW Water Strategy Priority 2

Recognise Aboriginal people’s rights and values and increase access to and ownership of water for cultural and economic purposes.

Sandy beach by Macquarie River, Dubbo. Image courtesy of Destination NSW.

Yarning with communities on water management

Engaging with Aboriginal people as a commitment to improving cultural, economic, and social outcomes for Aboriginal people.

Looking over the main weir at Menindee, February 2023. Image courtesy of Jason King.

Cultural Watering Plans

Cultural Watering Plans provide the information and data required to improve policies to achieve Aboriginal community aspirations.

Cultural watering plans

Cultural water access for Aboriginal people

Access to water empowers Aboriginal people’s spiritual, cultural, environmental and social connections.


For any enquiries please contact the Aboriginal Water Programs Team: Aboriginalwater.enquiries@dpie.nsw.gov.au

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Artist acknowledgement: Nathan Peckham

As a proud Tubba-gah man from Dubbo in the Wiradjuri Nation, I respectfully acknowledge all nations which the NSW DPE operates on. I acknowledge this artwork will be viewed off my home country of the Tubba-gah people and therefore ask you accept this artwork as an offering on behalf of my family as a gesture of continuing the legacy of the knowledge of our ancestors.

I would also like to pay respect to all traditional custodians of the country whose ancestral lands we all walk upon. I thank the Elders for their wisdom, courage, and sacrifice and pledge my commitment to preserving their legacy for future generations.

- Nathan Peckham