Karrawirra Parri (River Torrens) Governance

As the major urban waterway in Adelaide, the River Torrens serves many civil, environmental, ecological, recreational, health and cultural functions. These multiple functions and changing land use throughout the catchment make managing the river and its catchment inherently complex.

Currently, numerous state government agencies, statutory authorities and 16 local councils all have some river management responsibilities for the Torrens and its catchment. In addition, thousands of private land owners have a legislated duty of care for the river and its tributaries on their property.

A different governance model, with clearly defined roles and responsibilities, is needed to improve the management of, and outcomes for, the River Torrens, its tributaries and catchment. A good, effective governance model not only has clearly defined roles and responsibilities, but has shared ownership and buy-in.

democracyCo, has been commissioned by Adelaide and Mount Lofty Ranges Natural Resources Management Board to bring together the diverse and various stakeholders involved in the catchment to enable them to develop a governance model which meets their needs and has shared ownership.

The Approach

democracyCo designed a collaborative / codesign approach involving key stakeholders working through the following stages together:

  • determining the problems which were being experienced through the existing governance structure
  • designing a brief for potential governance models – that outlined what it needed to achieve
  • a process of refining and discarding potential models – as a way of arriving at an agreed governance model
  • a mechanism for stakeholder organisations to ‘socialize’ the new model with their own organisations
  • a final decision making process which seeks to achieve consensus.

Through 5 workshops over 8 months, democracyCo worked to support the stakeholders through this process. Recognizing the deep interest and attachment that the Kaurna nation have on the River (Karrawirra Parri), a separate process was undertaken to work closely with Kaurna to understand their preferences for governance and then Kaurna representatives were present at all key workshops.

Reports / Outcomes / Influence

This project is in progress – stay tuned!

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