Global Water Forum
This article was first posted by the Global Water Forum on September 27 to celebrate World Rivers Day. Excerpts have been reproduced here with their permission.
“World Rivers Day is celebrated on the fourth Sunday of each September. It is a celebration of the world’s waterways and was established to encourage the improved stewardship of Earth’s rivers, described by some as the arteries of our planet. On World Rivers Day 2020 the Global Water Forum is focussing its attention on the Fitzroy River in north Western Australia. The Fitzroy is one of the world’s great unregulated tropical rivers. Here, Nadeem Samnakay, Global Water Forum’s new Topic Editor for Governance, outlines the multiple and complex values within the rivers catchment, and the tensions these expose. He believes we need new governance and legal settings if the rich cultural and natural heritage of this ‘untamed’ river is to be protected.”
“The Fitzroy River flows through the Kimberley region of Western Australia. It is one of the world’s last remaining free-flowing rivers, and contains unique cultural and heritage values. Its floodplains and river frontages are of enormous spiritual, cultural and ecological significance, recognised in its Natural Heritage Listing, with the region being continuously occupied by humans for tens of thousands of years. Now, after several failed earlier attempts to regulate its flows, there are growing demands to exploit the water and mineral resources of the Fitzroy catchment. Given its many values and the growing pressure for its development, there is a clear need for improved water governance which recognise rivers beyond a simplistic lens of extractive economic opportunity.