Identifying the conditions for social learning in water governance in regional Australia

Wallis, Philip; Ison, Raymond L. and Samson, Katelyn (2013). Identifying the conditions for social learning in water governance in regional Australia. Land Use Policy, 31 pp. 412–421.

DOI: https://doi.org/10.1016/j.landusepol.2012.08.003

Abstract

Using critical systems heuristics as a sense-making framework, we explored historical and contemporary aspects of the water managing situation as viewed from the Goulburn-Broken Catchment – part of the Australia’s Murray–Darling Basin. This revealed key differences in how our respondents perceived what the situation ‘is’ and what it ‘ought’ to be, especially in relation to the centralisation of decision-making power. We explored aspects of the Victorian Salinity Program as a preliminary case study through the theoretical lens of ‘social learning’. This revealed many parallels to how respondents thought the current situation ‘ought’ to be. In comparison, there was a perception that the situation as it currently ‘is’ has experienced a shift back to more centralised policy and management, both at the state and federal levels, which creates challenges for the governance of water resources across the Murray–Darling Basin and presents the opportunity for social learning to again play a transformative role.

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