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Fresh Water in the Maningrida Region's Hybrid Economy: Intercultural Contestation of Values and Property Rights, 2008

Author:  NAILSMA ANU J Altman V Branchut
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This report, Fresh Water in the Maningrida Regions's Hybrid Economy: Intercultural Contestation over Values and Property Rights, was prepared for NAILSMA's Indigenous Water Policy Group (IWPG)

The NAILSMA IWPG project aims to articulate the least known aspects of water policy particularly relevant to north Australia’s Indigenous population, i.e. issues relating to property rights, use and management by Indigenous people.

This report on water in the Maningrida region's hybrid economy describes the results of one of the four case studies undertaken during 2007, each with different research emphases as proposed in the original funding application to Land and Water Australia (LWA) in 2005. Other case study locations are Katherine (NT), Gulf of Carpentaria (QLD) and the Ord River (WA).

This report describes the current governance of water in the Maningrida region in central Arnhem Land from three perspectives:

  • a historical analysis of the political economy of water
  • a sectoral analysis of the regional hybrid economy, and
  • a spatial analysis that has differentiated Maningrida township from the hinterland.

A cultural analysis is provided of regional values associated with water before a set of emerging contestations were outlined in relation to water property rights and water governance. The analysis highlighted that much of the complexity of water issues in this region can be attributed to a range of inter-linkages (a range of economic and institutional).