Monday, 17 July 2017
Charles Darwin University
Michael Mungula, Yasunori Hayashi and Leaonard Bawaynu at Bodiya homeland on Yurrwi
Michael Mungula, Yasunori Hayashi and Leaonard Bawaynu at Bodiya homeland on Yurrwi

Bridging the gap in water knowledge

By Leanne Miles

Researchers are helping to bridge cultural and language knowledge gaps in a project to improve community participation in water management in remote communities.

Northern Institute education Professor Michael Christie and School of Indigenous Knowledges and Public Policy Yolngu studies coordinator Yasunori Hayashi are leading the community engagement and Indigenous knowledge section of the ARC Linkage funded project.

The collaborative project, titled “Cross-cultural management of freshwater on resource-constrained islands”, aims to develop methods for community-led adaptive water management on the resource-constrained island of Yurrwi (Milingimbi).

Mr Hayashi is travelling to Yurrwi throughout this year to work with community members to highlight the importance of the local Yolngu knowledge in managing natural resources.

“I am working with Yolngu knowledge authorities to develop resources that demonstrate the Yolngu knowledge practices in managing and celebrating freshwater systems,” he said.

Mr Hayashi said the project was the first of its kind to involve Indigenous communities in the development of predictive groundwater models and incorporate Indigenous governance capacity and its values in the management of water resources.

The information will be fed back to the community and service providers such as Power and Water Cooperation, and the East Arnhem Regional Council.

The project is a collaboration between CDU, Flinders University, the University of Auckland, Power and Water Corporation, and the Australian Nuclear Science and Technology Organisation, with technical support by Crocodile Islands Rangers.