5.2 Perceptions of the Decision Process though Drought and Flood in the Murray-Darling Basin, Australia

Tuesday, 8 January 2013: 1:45 PM
Room 19A (Austin Convention Center)
Amanda H. Lynch, Brown University, Providence, RI; and C. E. Adler and N. C. Howard

The Murray-Darling Basin incorporates Australia's three longest rivers and spans four States and one Territory. It is important for an agricultural industry worth more than AUS$9 billion per year, but is also the life source and spirit of the Indigenous Yorta Yorta people. Persistent severe drought and extreme flooding episodes have presented new challenges in the region. The exceptionally wet conditions experienced since the break of the “Millenium Drought” beg the question as to whether key drought and flood characteristics are changing due to anthropogenic climate change. Many alternative goals for the management of the Basin answer to the requirement for an evidentiary basis. A choice cannot be made on this basis alone - interests are implicated in any alternative. Here we use Q methodology, an approach that elucidates patterns of subjectivity, to explore the perspectives of Indigenous and non-Indigenous residents, workers and decision-makers in the region. We address the inherent diversity of viewpoints on the risks from and responses to flood and drought, and identify the potential for common ground.
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