New paper explores Australia's original water industry
A paper recently published in Water e-Journal Vol 5 No 2 2020 examines the notion of the original water industry, presenting the argument that there was in fact an original water industry of which Indigenous Australians were the custodians.
The paper was authored by Michael Frangos, CEO of Indigenous Energy Australia; Brad Moggridge, hydrogeologist and PHD Candidate at the University of Canberra; Phil Duncan, member of the Gomeroi Nation and an elected representative of the Gomeroi Nation Native Title Claimant Group; Troyson Bassani, a lower-coastal Yindinji and a Lama Lama man; Torres Webb, an environmental scientist, published author and associate of Indigenous Energy Australia from the Torres Strait.
It explores the original water industry across all sectors including aquaculture and fisheries, water supply and wastewater management, discusses the value of Indigenous knowledge, practices and beliefs around water and how this knowledge can be applied in a contemporary setting.
The authors found that Indigenous Australians face many of the same issues the water industry faces more broadly, such as water quality and water scarcity, however these key water issues affect Indigenous Australians at a disproportionate rate.
The paper suggests that knowledge and principles from the original water industry should be considered as a part of the solution to mainstream water issues and more specifically with issues presented by climate change.
The paper concludes that the best avenue for incorporating Indigenous practices and knowledge into the water industry is the one that has been proposed by Indigenous leaders, experts and academics alike. This is to establish an Indigenous voice to water, a voice advising on specific water issues and on the direction of the industry at a local, community, state and national level.