Original paper

Integrated Management in Large River Basins: 12 Lessons from the Mekong and Murray-Darling Rivers

Campbell, Ian; Hart, Barry; Barlow, Chris

Abstract

Although every large river basin is unique, we identify 12 broadly applicable lessons related to integrated management which river basin managers should bear in mind. These are: the size of a river basin has an important influence on the complexities of management; decision makers tend to give priority to stakeholders seeking to gain short term personal benefit; river basin managers often fail to learn from the experience of others, or even from past mistakes in their own river basin; preventing river basin degradation is far cheaper than repairing damage; a basin plan does not replace a basin planning process; basin plans and their implementation must strike an appropriate balance between stakeholders; sound knowledge is essential in evidence-based decision making, but decisions are ultimately political and involve value judgments; technical work must be peer reviewed to ensure quality; the emphasis on the fishery in basin planning is often unrelated to the importance of the fish to human subsistence; asset-based management approaches are very complex in large river basins; large scale developments attract a lot of planning attention, but basins are often degraded through numerous small scale impacts.

Keywords

large riversriver managementmekongmurray-darling