National Water Infrastructure Development Fund
Science delivers raw ingredients needed for northern food bowl
The Australian Government’s world leading Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment (NAWRA) initiative provides the data and knowledge base needed to help unlock Northern Australia’s economic potential and to inform planning to become Australia’s next major food producing region.
The $15 million NAWRA is an initiative of the Government’s white paper on Developing Northern Australia, funded through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund. The outcomes of the NAWRA can be accessed at CSIRO NAWRA.
The $580 million 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 help stimulate regional economic development including through primary industries and new and expanded agriculture.
The Australian Government has announced $72 million is available through a special drought round under the Fund to assist state and territory governments identify and co-fund the construction of water infrastructure to increase the long-term water availability and security in drought-affected areas.
Funding from the fund is only provided to state and territory governments through bilateral schedules in accordance with the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009. For further information on specific project agreements, please refer to the Council on Financial Relations National Partnerships—Environment.
The $15 million Northern Australia Water Resource Assessment (NAWRA), which investigated the potential of northern Australia’s water resources to support increased regional development, is now complete. For more information please refer to CSIRO NAWRA.
Structure of the Fund
The fund has two parts: a feasibility component and a capital component.
- The $59.5 million feasibility component is providing funding to 39 feasibility studies across Australia to accelerate the detailed planning necessary to inform future water infrastructure investment decisions.
- The $520 million capital component is providing funding contributions to co-fund the construction of water infrastructure projects in partnership with the responsible state government and their project partners.
The White Paper on Developing Northern Australia identifies that conditions in northern Australia present challenges, especially a lack of water resource assessments at 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, $230 million ($40 million feasibility and $190 million capital) has been committed to water infrastructure feasibility studies and projects in northern Australia.
Applications are closed for Expressions of Interest from state and territory governments for capital funding through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.
Further information about the capital component of the fund and the projects that have received funding is available on the water infrastructure projects page.
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.
The Australian Government is delivering on its $2.6 billion commitment to build the water infrastructure of the 21st century through the $580 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund and the $2 billion National Water Infrastructure Loan Facility.
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.
If you require additional information, please email Water Infrastructure.