Cultural imperatives and obligations, both social and spiritual, compel us to protect water.

There are many places in the Northern Territory where water is not simply a vital resource but a living entity in itself, embedded in systems of spirituality, social organisation, healing and Law. People who have cultural obligations and roles to keep water sources and their environs begin to suffer when access, contamination and scarcity prevent them from fulfilling their duties.

Obligations to preserve water are often obstructed by conflicting cultures of ignorance and consumption. This allows large scale water usage for profit to go unchecked. The consequences are evidenced in the transformation of our ecosystems in drastic and permanent ways.

Nadine Lee explores the healing properties of water as both a fundamental component within Larrakia ceremony and as the major element in our body’s biochemical constitution. Patricia Napurrula captures the sparkles of lightning featured within the momentous rain dreaming story situated at Kalipinypa, north east of Kintore. Jeremiah Garingarr describes the spiritual logic underpinning the retribution of Ngaylod, an ancestral being who changes water to quick sand to ensure Law is respected and adhered to. Kelly Lee Hickey documents the debris of settler impact on the Ilparpa Clay Pans on Arrernte land, thirteen kilometres from Alice Springs. Sarah Pirrie considers how consumer culture, signified by the single use drinking can, has become embedded in the rocky sediment of coastline surrounding Darwin to create new hybrid geological formations.