About The Project

'The river is part of who we are. It is about respecting that traditional knowledge, to bring it into the twenty-first century, and to put it as two words: Cultural Flows.' - Cheryl Buchanan, Kooma (Gwama) Nation  

Cultural Flows are 'water entitlements that are legally and beneficially owned by Indigenous Nations of a sufficient and adequate quantity and quality, to improve the spiritual, cultural, environmental, social and economic conditions of those Indigenous Nations'. This is our inherent right.

ntsv northwest02b

This definition was endorsed by representatives from thirty-one Indigenous nations at a joint meeting of the Murray Lower Darling River Indigenous Nations (MLDRIN) and the Northern Basin Aboriginal Nations (NBAN) -The Echuca Declaration, September 2010.

What we do

The National Cultural Flows Research Project is a game-changing ressearch project driven by Indigenous people, for Indigenous people.

The project aims to secure a future where Indigenous water allocations are embedded within Australia's water planning and management regimes, to deliver cultural, spiritual and social benefits as well as environmental and economic benefits, to communities in the Murray-Darling Basin and beyond.

Our purpose

We want to provide rigorous and defendable knowledge on Indigenous water interests for the benefit of Indigenous people. The project will draw on a range of scientific research methodologies and generations of cultural knowledge to:

  • Provide a greater understanding of Indigenous values relating to natural resources, including water
  • Equip Aboriginal people with information to ensure that Aboriginal water requirements and preferences are reflected in water policy
  • Inform the development of new governance approaches to water management that incorporate aspects of Aboriginal governance and capacity building

While the focus of the National Cultural Flows Research Project is on the Murray Darling Basin, the project has been established for the benefit of all Aboriginal nations across Australia. The project will develop a framework, principles and solid evidence base that can be applied outside of the Basin, to inform the recognition of Aboriginal water rights in different jurisdictions. It will do this through the use of case study sites that consider cultural flows in different cultural, social, economic and ecological settings.