Principles for the management of freshwater ecosystems:

Developed by Land and Water Australia (a Commonwealth-funded natural resource management agency based in Canberra, Australia) and published in their newsletter "RipRap" Vol.18, February 2001 (ISSN 1324-6941):

1. Naturally variable flow regimes, the dry phase, and the maintenance of water quality are fundamental to the health of inland river eco-systems.

2. Flooding is essential to floodplain ecosystem processes and makes a significant contribution to pastoral activities.

3. Structures such as dams, weirs and levees can have a significant impact on the connectivity along rivers and between the river and its floodplain. Solutions are needed to either minimise these impacts or find alternatives.

4. Water is essential to rural industries and communities who have the responsibility at the local level to manage water resources.

5. Catchment management and integrated surface and groundwater management, are important concepts that need to be put into practice.

6. Sufficient knowledge exists to ensure that water resource allocation decisions are made on a sustainable basis. A strong commitment is needed to access and utilise best available scientific information.

7. New developments should be undertaken only after appraisal indicates they are economically viable and ecologically sustainable.  Promoting greater water efficiency is essential to achieving sustainable industries.

8. High conservation value rivers and floodplains need to be identi-fied, and in some cases, protected in an un-regulated state.

9. Stressed rivers need to be identified, and priorities established for their rehabilitation.

10. Improved institutional and legal frameworks are needed to meet community river management aspirations.

11. With all parties making a commitment to work together, management regimes can be developed that are ecologically, economically, socially and culturally sustainable.