National Water Infrastructure Development Fund

Applications are open for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from state and territory governments under the recently expanded capital component of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Applications will be accepted continuously until all funds are committed.

Applications received by 3pm AEDT 1 April 2019 will be assessed in this funding round.

The $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (the fund) is implementing the Australian Government's commitment to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century. The fund is accelerating the detailed planning and construction of water infrastructure projects that will deliver new and affordable water, enhance water security and underpin regional economic growth, including irrigated agriculture and industry.

On 19 November 2018, the Australian Government announced an expansion of the fund by more than half a billion dollars bringing the total funding to $1.3 billion. This expansion includes commitments of:

  • up to $250,000 to co-fund the establishment of management arrangements, finalisation of the design and completion of the regulatory and statutory approval processes needed for the Coldstream Recycled Water Pipeline to progress to construction (VIC)
  • up to $1 million to co-fund the completion of the regulatory approval processes, including the final business case, design and Environmental Impact Statement, required for the Southern Forest Irrigation Scheme to progress to construction (WA)
  • up to $2 million for a feasibility study to assess options to build new water infrastructure to increase water supply and security in the North and South Burnett regions (QLD)
  • up to $54 million for Hells Gates Dam including Rig Rocks Weir (QLD)
  • up to $182 million for the Hughenden Irrigation Scheme (QLD)

Applications are closed for Expressions of Interest (EOI) from state and territory governments for funding under the drought round of the fund. For information about the drought round, refer to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund Drought Round webpage.

Funding from the fund is only available to state and territory governments through bilateral schedules in accordance with the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009. Existing schedules are available on the Council on Financial Relations National Partnerships—Environment webpage.

Structure of the fund

The fund has two parts:

  • A feasibility component
  • A capital component

Capital Component

The capital component of the fund is available to state and territory governments to provide co-funding contributions to support the construction of water infrastructure projects that will provide secure and affordable water.

A list of projects that have received co-funding contributions under the capital component of the fund is available on the water infrastructure projects webpage.

Capital Funding Expressions of Interest

Applications are open for Expressions of Interest from state and territory governments for capital co-funding to construct water infrastructure.

Key Dates

Applications will be accepted continuously until all funds are committed.

Applications received by 3pm AEDT 1 April 2019 will be assessed in this funding round.

Applications received after this date will be assessed in future funding rounds should funding remain available.

The department may alter dates and assessment timeframes at its discretion. State and territory governments will be advised via email of any changes or additions to Assessment Dates.

Eligibility

Only state and territory governments can apply for funding under the fund.

Funding will be provided for the construction of permanent water infrastructure projects. Only water infrastructure projects ready to progress to construction will be considered.

In submitting an EOI for funding, state and territory governments must commit to implementation of National Water Initiative (NWI) consistent water management in the catchment where the infrastructure is proposed. Guidance notes for National Water Initiative requirements are available.

Further eligibility and assessment criteria are contained in the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund—Capital Component Guidelines (available below).

How to Apply

  • Read the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund—Capital Component Guidelines DOCX: 127 KB PDF: 1046 KB.
  • Complete an application form DOCX: 103 KB.
  • Submit an EOI and a completed application form.
    • If the EOI, including attachments, is under 20 MB please submit via email to Water Infrastructure.
    • If the EOI, including attachments, is over 20 MB please contact the Department via email to Water Infrastructure to discuss how to submit your proposal.

Please check this webpage regularly for updates. The department will publish frequently asked questions and answers about this process to ensure all potential applicants have access to the same information.

Frequently Asked Questions

Can local government or private organisations apply for funding?

No. Local government and private organisations are not eligible to apply directly to the fund. Only state and territory governments are eligible to apply for funding; however, state and territory governments may partner with local government and/or private organisations.

For information on other Australian Government funding programs that may be available to local government and/or private organisations, visit the Regional and community programs webpage.

What types of projects are eligible for funding?

Examples of eligible water infrastructure include, but are not limited to,

  • dams, weirs, off-stream storages and water supply pipelines;
  • groundwater and managed aquifer recharge supply schemes; and
  • water treatment, including desalination, storage and reuse.

Further information about eligible and ineligible water infrastructure types is contained in the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund—Capital Component Guidelines (above).

Can I apply for funding for on-farm irrigation development?

No. On-farm water storage, supply and irrigation infrastructure is not eligible for funding through the fund.

For information on other Australian Government funding programs that may be available for both on-farm and off-farm water infrastructure, visit the Regional Investment Corporation.

Drought Round

Applications are closed for Expressions of Interest from state and territory governments for funding through the $72 million drought round under the fund.

For further information, please refer to the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund Drought Round webpage.

Feasibility Component

The feasibility component is available to state and territory governments to provide funding contributions to support feasibility studies to accelerate the detailed planning and business case development necessary to inform future water infrastructure investment decisions.

Applications are closed for Expressions of Interest from state and territory governments for feasibility study funding through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Further information about the feasibility component of the fund and the studies that have received funding is available on the feasibility studies page.

Northern Australia

The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia identifies that conditions in northern Australia present challenges, especially a lack of water resource assessments at the catchment level, which pose a barrier to water infrastructure development. In contrast, southern Australia has an extensive range of scientific and technical research available, and generally has the necessary supporting infrastructure and functioning water markets in place.

In recognising northern Australia's unique circumstances, $467.2 million has been committed to water infrastructure feasibility studies and construction projects in northern Australia.

Included in this commitment is the recently completed $15 million Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment (NAWRA), which investigated the potential of water and soil resources to support increased primary production in three priority northern catchments. More information is available on the CSIRO NAWRA showcase.

Background

The Australian Government is delivering on its over $3 billion commitment to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century through the $1.3 billion National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.

The fund was announced in the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia.

The creation of these initiatives followed the release of the Water Infrastructure Options Paper PDF: 1793 KB by the Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group. This group, and these initiatives, recognise that water regulation, planning and management is generally the responsibility of the state and territory governments but that the Australian Government can, through targeted funding, play a valuable role in supporting water infrastructure projects that:

  • Have strong state or territory government support.
  • Are in the national interest.
  • Deliver net economic and social benefits and broader public benefits.

Further Information

If you require additional information, please email Water Infrastructure.