A NSW Government website

Aboriginal Water Program

Regional Aboriginal Water Committees

Committees for Aboriginal people across NSW to provide advice on water planning and management.

Aboriginal artwork by

We acknowledge the Traditional Custodians of the land and we show our respect for Elders past, present and emerging through thoughtful and collaborative approaches to our work, seeking to demonstrate our ongoing commitment to providing places in which Aboriginal people are included socially, culturally and economically.

About the committees

Water is sacred to Aboriginal people, and we know from years of discussions with Elders and other representatives that they need to have more of a say in guiding water planning, so their rights and cultural values are considered at a local level.

In July and August 2023, the Aboriginal Water Program called for expressions of interest from Aboriginal people to join new Regional Aboriginal Water Committees across inland and coastal catchment areas of the state.

The committees will help improve water management in NSW by giving greater recognition to Aboriginal water rights and interests, ensuring Aboriginal people can contribute to water management.

The committees will:

  • empower Aboriginal communities to participate in water programs
  • build new relationships across water
  • ensure Aboriginal rights and values are considered in water planning, programs and projects
  • enable exchange of water knowledge in regional communities
  • assist the department staff to identify key stakeholders from a local Aboriginal community to be engaged and consulted where required
  • share appropriate knowledge to benefit water management
  • work in partnership with the department and other water agencies to contribute to water policy review and development.

Applications closed on Thursday 24 August 2023 at 11:59 pm.

Role of committee members

The role of committee members is to:

  • provide feedback and input on water planning, programs and projects where Aboriginal rights and values must be considered
  • be involved in progressing regional water management plans and initiatives, along with an Aboriginal water strategy for NSW.
  • identify and advise on gaps or opportunities, emergent issues or risks to water management proposals.
  • be a point of contact for the department’s Water Group in their community on water management issues locally and regionally
  • assist Aboriginal stakeholders to gain an understanding of water management in NSW.

Committee members will be required to meet up to six times a year within their region and will receive a sitting fee (including $220 per day, and travel and meal expenses) for participating in meetings. Up to 12 committee members will be selected for each region. The committees will operate until 30 June 2025.

Selection criteria

To become a member of a Regional Aboriginal Water Committee, applicants must:

  • identify as an Aboriginal person, have the ancestral links, and be accepted by their community as a person who can represent their interests
  • reside in a local Nation or community they would represent
  • have knowledge of local water issues in the region, including Aboriginal cultural water knowledge and basic knowledge of how water is used and allocated, infrastructure, policy, strategy and planning of water on country
  • make a commitment to travel to and participate in up to six meetings a year.

Public servants cannot apply to join a committee.

Next steps

The program team is currently assessing all expressions of interest against the selection criteria. Successful applicants will be notified by a member of the project team in October 2023.

More information

For more information visit Aboriginal water program

Contact us

For further enquiries, please contact the Aboriginal Water Programs Team:

Email: awp.engagementteam@dpie.nsw.gov.au
Call: 1300 081 047