An assessment of local involvement and influence in the development of a water sharing plan, NSW, Australia
Participatory planning involving local people has become a basic principle in the water field. The potential benefits of involving local people in decisions that affect them directly is broadly recognized. However, the extent to which participants are interested in, and capable of, being involved effectively in planning activities varies widely. This study aimed to assess local involvement and influence in the development of a water sharing plan in New South Wales, Australia. To accomplish this an evaluative framework was developed and applied to a case study of the Hunter River Catchment, NSW. The case study revealed that a relatively high degree of local involvement was appropriate, and to a certain extent, was achieved. However, local influence was constrained by challenges related to representation, and definition of tasks and responsibilities. The suitability of influence as a result of involvement is discussed and recommendations are provided.