Water Journal : Water Journal April 2012
catchment management technical features 98 APRIL 2012 water round of CAPs and found they were reasonable given the maturity of CMAs and the regional model at the time. When the NRC approved the CAPs, it recommended that the next generation of CAPs should become whole-of- government CAPs. In 2008, the NRC in partnership with the New South Wales Government commenced a pilot for upgrading CAPs in the Central West and Namoi CMAs. These pilots have been successful, with: • Much stronger evidence base; • Clearer strategic thinking; • Improved communication and accessibility; • Much better prioritisation and change management through resilience thinking, and most relevantly to this paper; • Increased collaboration. The remaining 11 CMAs in NSW are currently commencing the upgrade of their CAPs, which are to be developed by March 2013 as a priority action under the state plan NSW 2021 (New South Wales Government, 2011). The NRC is supporting these upgrades through the release of the Framework for assessing and recommending upgraded catchment action plans (CAP Assessment Framework) (NRC, 2011), which not only reflects the lessons learned from the Pilot CAP Upgrades, but also contains three 'criteria' that set out the NRC's expectations for upgraded CAPs (and explains how the NRC will assess them): 1. The CAP was developed using a structured, collaborative and adaptable planning process -- the process in developing the plan, building strategic capacity and engendering ownership is more important than the final document itself. 2. The CAP uses best available information to develop targets and actions for building resilient landscapes -- being clear on planning targets and putting the new conceptual framework of 'Resilience thinking' into practice. (See further on resilience at (Walker and Salt, 2006; Bennett, 2003; Walker et al.; 2009 and Chapin et al., 2009). 3. The CAP is a plan for collaborative action and investment between government, community and industry partners -- on the basis of the encouraging outcomes of the Alignment Project (integrating NRM policy framework at the regional scale and greater collaboration with partners in NRM). Conclusion: Building Co-Operative Relationships The experiences highlighted in this paper show that the current Catchment Management Authorities (and equivalent regional bodies around Australia) are gaining sufficient institutional maturity and stability to make integrated catchment management feasible. The development of catchment management over the past two decades, and its encouraging results in the past few years, have shown that building co-operative relationships is a difficult, lengthy, but necessary part of its integration. Through this paper, the following lessons for co-operative relationships can be distilled: 1. Whole of government, whole of community -- A collaborative approach should increase the effectiveness of both the CMA and its partners, and minimise costs in working towards common objectives. 2. Collaboration is hard -- Conflict between government and community expectations is inevitable. Resolving differences will not always be possible, but attempts to collaborate are the first step in an ongoing process. 3. Alignment with existing plans -- The Pilot CAPs and other projects have demonstrated a methodology for mapping areas of commonality and conflict between the CAP and other related NRM plans. Alignment at the strategic scale is an important precursor to collaboration and co-ordination on specific actions. 4. Spatial representation -- There is an inherent power of maps in communication -- spatial representation is an important characteristic and tool of upgraded CAPs. 5. Agreed roles and responsibilities -- The test of the success of the planning process is the extent to which the key delivery partners have agreed to be assigned responsibility for CAP implementation. Agreement is often easier at the strategic level (visions and goals) than the operational level (actions). In August 2011, AWA's Catchment Management Specialist Network held its National Conference in Wangaratta, Victoria. The theme was 'Healthy Catchments, Healthy Communities' and it attracted over 150 delegates. The program committee reviewed the papers submitted and the presentations given at the conference, and decided on the top five papers. These papers are presented here. All the papers presented at the conference can be downloaded from AWA's Online Document Library -- just look under 'Quick Links' on the AWA homepage. The Author Dr John Williams (email: jwil3940@bigpond. net.au) was the NSW Natural Resources Commissioner from 2006--2011. John is an eminent scientist who retired from CSIRO as Chief of Land and Water in 2004, having been Chief or Deputy Chief since 1996. John was also Chief Scientist and Chair of the Department of Natural Resources' Science and Information Board and Adjunct Professor in Agriculture and Natural Resource Management at Charles Sturt University. John is a member of the Wentworth Group of Concerned Scientists. References Allan C & Stankey G (eds.), 2009: Adaptive environmental management -- a practitioner's guide, Springer (jointly with CSIRO publishing). Bellamy J, Ross H, Ewing S & Meppem T, 2002: Integrated Catchment Management: Learning from the Australian Experience for the Murray- Darling Basin, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, January 2002. Bennett E, 2003: Scenario development and resilience: local and global examples of resilience of social-ecological systems, IHDP (International Human Dimensions of Global Change). Chapin F, Folke C, Kofinas G, 2009: Principles of Ecosystem Stewardship, Springer. Hamstead M, 2010: Alignment of water planning and catchment planning, Waterlines Report, National Water Commission, December 2010. Hooper B, 2006: Key performance indicators of river basin organisations, Institute for Water Resources, August 2006. Murray-Darling Basin Ministerial Council, 2001: Integrated Catchment Management in the Murray-Darling Basin 2001-2010; delivering a sustainable future, Murray-Darling Basin Commission, June 2001. Natural Resources Commission, 2005: Standard for quality natural resource management, Natural Resources Commission, September 2005. Natural Resources Commission, 2010: Progress towards healthy resilient landscapes -- implementing the Standard, Targets and catchment action plans, Natural Resources Commission, December 2010. Natural Resources Commission, 2011: Framework for assessing and recommending upgraded catchment action plans. Natural Resources Commission, May 2011. New South Wales Government, 2011: NSW 2021, a plan to make NSW number one. NSW Government, September 2011. Walker B, Abel N, Anderies J, Ryan P, 2009: 'Resilience, adaptability and transformability in the Goulburn-Broken Catchment, Australia', Ecology and Society, Vol 14, No 1, Synthesis. Walker B & Salt D, 2006: Resilience thinking -- Sustaining ecosystems and people in a changing world, Island Press.
Water Journal May 2012
Water Journal December 2011