A Case Study of Accommodating Indigenous Cultural Values in Water Resource Management: Privatization and Co-Management


  • Alex Steenstra Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus


The management of rivers and their catchments around the world are significantly affected by the claims of indigenous people. In the arid west of the United States, local indigenous tribes have or are in the process of obtaining water rights to major portions of the Colorado and Columbia rivers. Likewise, in Australia indigenous claims on the Murray-Darling Basin threaten the current water allocations and add another layer of complexity to the management issues. The recently signed Waikato River Settlement in New Zealand does not address ownership of water but requires co-management between local tribes and the government to address the health and well-being of the river. These claims and settlements affect the management of rivers in several ways. One important aspect is the change in governance powers and functions. Another important aspect is the inclusion of cultural values in managing natural resources. This paper will focus on how cultural values may be accommodated in natural resource management from an economics perspective.

Author Biography

Alex Steenstra, Northern Arizona University Yuma Branch Campus