The Menindee Lakes is a major wetland system in the Murray-Darling Basin supplied by the Darling River, known also by its Barkandji name, the Barka River. It was once a system of natural lakes – some were made into water storage dams in the 1960s, historically supplying water to Broken Hill.

During the course of this research, the authors investigated the decision-making in relation to the ecology and management of the Menindee Lakes Water Savings Project (the Menindee Lakes Project). They investigated the available scientific evidence and stakeholder consultation required for rigorous adaptive governance of decision-making, identifying significant weaknesses in the approach, driving poor decision-making.

Specifically, they examined three objectives related to scientific evidence:

  1. trends in long-term (1880-2019) rainfall and flows in the Darling River reaching Menindee Lakes;
  2. trends in abundance and richness of waterbirds at Menindee Lakes (1983- 2019) and association with flows and;
  3. the evidence basis for government decision-making in the Business Case for the Menindee Lakes Project.

The researchers also surveyed local communities, dependent on the ecosystem, in relation to perceptions of the condition, consultation processes and future options for the Menindee Lakes and the Darling River.

Related Information

Scale, evidence, and community participation matter

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