Anna Argyroudi's research on the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal

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Anna Argyroudi, our Swedish student visitor has presented the findings of her 4 months research on the Traveston Crossing Dam proposal for her Masters thesis as part of the Master Programme of integrated Water Resources Management in SLU University of Uppsala/Sweden, the agricultural university for Sweden. A pdf of her presentation is attached.

In her presentation, she looks at the dilemmas that have emerged after the dam proposal was announced. Dilemmas around ethics, resources, politics, stakeholders, technical and institutional. She has looked at lessons learnt, feelings felt and why.. why people have put their personal lives aside in order to overturn the decision to dam the Mary.. why is it so important? 

We thank Anna for coming to the Mary Valley, living among the people and listening to our reasons why it is so important.  We hope her learnings will be shared with many people both nationally and internationally to help the campaign to save the Mary River for future generations.

Anna is supervised in Australia by Peter Oliver and his team from the International Water Centre and Christine King from the University of Queensland.

Integrated Water Resources Management (IWRM) is a participatory planning and implementation process that brings stakeholders together to determine how to meet society’s long-term needs for water while maintaining essential ecological services and economic benefits. Through this, Anna found out that top-down approaches in water governance coupled with technical solutions ‘imposed’ by water experts do not work, unless they involve the democratic participation of the stakeholders.  She realised there was something missing in the way of understanding water issues. We had been educated to become ‘water technicians’ and always analyse and explain data. But that drives students to become experts in ‘parts’ of knowledge and overlook the ‘whole’.  Therefore, the question for Anna at that point was ‘What about the people?’ She hoped to improve her understanding on the missing socio-political principles, which are absolutely necessary for water management.

Anna has been involved in discussing with local people around the Mary Valley about the river issues and to track down our perspectives and visions about them.
She was really interested in how the Save the Mary river campaign has worked so far, the other organisations in the catchment and how can she could get a better insight of the situation from our point of worldview. She wanted to understand the way people involved in the Save the Mary Campaign have learnt and worked together to mount the campaign.