Drawing on experiences in New South Wales from 1950 to 1980 in modeling and re-use techniques in the development of desalination technology and its application in fresh water production for potable use, the paper describes how Australia realized its responsibilities in developing participative and sustainable approaches to land use and water resources management. An analysis of the lessons from the operation of the Bayswater zero-discharge power station significantly contributed to the debate on sustainable approaches, highlighting that no management policy of a water basin can be implemented without a model based on reliable data from all sectors (including the environment), and no management model can be implemented without the participation of all stakeholders. These ideals were reflected in the conception and establishment of the Murray-Darling Basin Commission. The Commission succeeded in bringing together all major stakeholders in this huge basin, though it took more than 15 years to do so. While widely recognized as one of the most advanced and successful experiences in integrated management of a drainage basin, it has still not achieved the reversal of many unsustainable agricultural practices, giving a clear indication of the difficulties and time required for producing sustainable solutions.

This content is only available as a PDF.
You do not currently have access to this content.