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Aboriginal Water Program

Cultural Watering Plans

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

Cultural watering plans

Expressions of interest for this project have now closed and those who registered will be contacted and advised of the status of their applications.

About Cultural Watering Plans

The department has committed to increasing Aboriginal ownership of and access to water for cultural and economic purposes (NSW Water Strategy).

To achieve this objective, the department is piloting the Cultural Watering Plans project. A cultural watering plan will outline how Aboriginal communities want to use their water rights to achieve cultural outcomes using water management language.

Examples of cultural watering plans may include:

  • accessing in-stream, overland flow or groundwater to do any of the following:
    • drinking
    • food preparation
    • washing
    • manufacture of traditional artefacts
    • watering of personal gardens
    • cultural teaching
    • hunting
    • fishing
    • bush tucker and bush medicine gathering
    • recreational purposes
    • cultural purposes
    • ceremonial purposes
  • keeping cultural flows in local rivers or creeks to meet community’s cultural needs
  • watering culturally significant wetlands, billabongs or waterholes
  • protecting a water-dependent culturally significant site
  • maintaining adequate cultural water to meet the fishing, hunting, bush tucker and traditional medicine needs of your community
  • maintaining adequate water quality and quantity to meet your community’s social needs, including drinking, washing, swimming, parks and gardens
  • ensuring there is enough cultural water protected in groundwater sources to allow naturally occurring springs, seepages and wells to meet cultural needs
  • maintaining connectivity in rivers, creeks and pools during droughts and low flow times to meet cultural needs.

Developing a plan will:

  • inform the department’s review of existing policy frameworks to identify opportunities for greater Aboriginal access and ownership of water
  • provide information to Aboriginal communities to make it easier to navigate the licensing framework to access and use water for cultural purposes.

Contact us

For more information about cultural watering plans or the registration of interest process please contact the Aboriginal Water Program team by phone 1300 081 047 or email Katrina.mcclelland@dpie.nsw.gov.au