First Peoples are leading the conversation about Indigenous water rights policy in Australia. This paper reviews contemporary Aboriginal water policy and initiatives. We examine the ever-changing cycles of government action and inaction, and First Peoples’ responses. Three case studies: Strategic Indigenous Reserves in the Northern Territory, the First Peoples’ Water Engagement Council and the Fitzroy River Declaration illustrate: (1) First People’s expressions of the right to self-determination in relation to water; (2) First Peoples’ contributions to integrated water resource management principles and water governance in Australia; and (3) that State/Commonwealth Aboriginal water initiatives are often discontinued when elected government changes, and rarely given strength through legislation. We finish the review with policy recommendations that underline the need to ‘break the cycle’ of inconsistent government initiatives.