This paper describes the Australian Murray-Darling basin experience in integrated catchment management, what has been achieved and what remains to be done. The basin water is shared by three states, but falls under the jurisdiction of four governments, that of the Commonwealth as well as the State governments. The critical development in recent years at the political and bureaucratic level was the establishment of a three-tier management structure that allows common interests to be developed, discussed, resolved and implemented. Two main problems had to be resolved before significant co-operative action could take place, namely the issues of water sharing between the states and the sharing of costs associated with Murray River salinity. A framework Salinity and Drainage Strategy was developed to address this, and is described.
This paper also describes the Natural Resources Management Strategy, the cornerstone of efforts to sustain the natural resources of the basin. The strategy emphasises community participation and empowerment. The problems identified, strategic aims to address these problems and the role of community action are detailed.