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Lost Waters: A History of a Troubled Catchment
Lost Waters charts the history of waterscape change for a Moorabool River catchment near Ballarat in the central highlands of western Victoria since white settlement. It is a water supply catchment area where water has been gathered and channelled, waterways reconfigured and connections with local community weakened. In bringing a historical rather than scientific perspective to the issues of water allocation and river management, Erica Nathan considers how people experienced the 'settlement' of water. She questions the central volumetric value that water is given in contemporary debates by discovering a lost geography of water in the knowledge and memory of petitions, water races, picnics, frontage disputes, forest settlements, swimming holes, hidden waterfalls and ti-treed springs.
Lost Waters is a history of one rural waterscape, but with implications that extend to our wider understanding of how water resource conflict is framed and how our waterways are managed. It shows that water has been distilled from its past to produce a resource removed from history and landscapes disconnected from community.