Integrated Catchment Management (ICM) Policy Statement
The Murray-Darling Basin is under threat. Rising salinity and a high demand for limited water and land resources are two of the major problems. We cannot protect the Basin under current levels of resource use. All partners must decide what they want for the future, what is possible given the constraints, and how these aims may be achieved by working together. The ICM Policy Statement is a commitment by the community and governments of the Murray-Darling Basin to do all that needs to be done to manage and use the resources of the Basin in a way that is ecologically sustainable.The Statement is based on setting targets for catchment health and building the capacities of the Basin community and government to achieve these targets. The approach will take another ten years to build. It will require substantial government, community and industry leadership and commitment, and will significantly test the capacities of us all to manage the natural resource base for the benefit of both present and future generations.
Integrated Catchment management (ICM) is a process through which people can develop a vision, agree on shared values and behaviours, make informed decisions and act together to manage the natural resources of their catchment.
What are we trying to achieve?
The goals of the policy are to achieve: healthy rivers; healthy ecosystems and catchments; innovative, competitive and ecologically sustainable industries; and health regional communities.
How will this be done?
Targets for catchment health will be set in each major catchment of the Basin as a "floor" on catchment health. They will incorporate targets for water quality (salinity and nutrients); water sharing (consumptive / environmental flows); riverine ecosystem health; and terrestrial biodiversity.
These targets will reflect the environmental, economic and social assets that communities and governments agree to protect. The following diagram provides examples of targets for a catchment. Setting and achieving end-of-valley targets for each catchment in the Basin will be needed to protect the health of the Basin as a whole.
To implement this targets-based approach to catchment health, the capacity of government agencies, catchment management organisations, local government, and the broader community will be strengthened, particularly at catchment scale. Capacity includes legal, institutional, planning, management, financial, technical and information skills and capacities, and leadership skills. A stronger partnership approach will be needed, building on the following values and principles.
Why is this approach being used?
The health of the Basin's rivers and shared resources is dependent upon the health of its catchments. The health of the catchments in turn depends on the decisions made by people using and managing the land, water and other environmental resources. Catchment health is a responsibility shared by the Basin community and governments.
What is different?
The following elements of the policy are designed to bring about change:
Documents can also be obtained from: