The Martuwarra Fitzroy River is one of Australia’s great remaining intact rivers, a raging torrent after heavy monsoonal rains, which recedes to pools and wetland refuges by the end of the dry season.

Known as Martuwarra and Bandaralngarri by the Aboriginal people who live in the Fitzroy Valley, the River is fundamental to the lives of the people of six language groups. 

Watch inspiring and powerful Traditional Owners in the Voices of the River documentary web series, as they share their fight to protect the River from large-scale water extraction. 


Stopping dams and land-clearing 

EK was formed in 1996 in response to a proposal to build dams on the Martuwarra Fitzroy River system to irrigate GM cotton. Alongside the Bunuba, Nyikina and Karajarri Traditional Owners and wider community, we fought for eight years for the River and Country to be protected. 

In the 2000s, we successfully campaigned against a government proposal to send water by canal from the Martuwarra Fitzroy to drought-stricken Perth.  

In 2011 the Martuwarra Fitzroy River system was placed on the Australia’s National Heritage List for its outstanding cultural and natural values.

In 2023 the WA Government has made a commitment to ensure that no further surface water can be taken from the Martuwarra Fitzroy River. 

This historic commitment is a direct result of widespread support for protection of the Martuwarra and the 43,000 submissions sent by the Australian public in 2021, calling on the government to abandon plans to extract 300 billion litres of water from the river. 


Taking action

In late 2016, at a meeting of traditional owner groups to talk about the protection and management of the Martuwarra Fitzroy River, there was a call for the River to be given the highest level of protection from harmful activities including land clearing, the overuse of water, pollution, salinity and erosion.  

Read the Fitzroy River Declaration 

Sign the petition to protect the Martuwarra Fitzroy River, now.