National Water Infrastructure Development Fund

Applications for Expressions of Interest for water infrastructure construction through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund are now open.

The National Water Infrastructure Development Fund (the fund) implements the Australian Government's commitment to start the detailed planning necessary to build or augment existing water infrastructure, including dams, pipelines or managed aquifer recharge. This will help secure the nation's water supplies and deliver regional economic development benefits for Australia, while also protecting our environment.

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

Structure of the fund

The fund has two parts: the capital component ($440 million) and the feasibility component ($59.5 million).

Capital component​

Applications are now open for Expressions of Interest (EOIs) from state and territory governments for capital funding for the construction of water infrastructure through the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Funding for the capital component is available from 2017–18.

EOIs will be accepted continuously until all funds are committed.

Applications received by 3pm AEST 21 September 2017 are now being assessed for funding.

​Future assessment dates will be announced should funding remain available after the second assessment process is finalised.

The department may alter the above dates for this application process at its absolute discretion. Future assessment dates will be notified via the website. State and territory governments will be informed by the fund team of any changes to the assessment dates.

Eligibility for funding is restricted to state and territory governments. EOIs must have the written support of the state or territory minister responsible for water.

Funding of $146.9 million remains available through the current EOI process to construct water infrastructure in partnership with state and territory governments, including a component for northern Australia of approximately $40 million.

On 17 August 2017, $45.6 million in capital funding was announced for the Northern Adelaide Irrigation Scheme project.

This is in addition to the $247.5 million in funding commitments announced by the Australian Government during the 2016 Federal Election. These commitments include:

  • Rookwood Weir, Queensland ($130 million)
  • Dungowan Dam, New South Wales ($75 million)
  • Macalister Irrigation District modernisation, Victoria ($20 million)
  • South West Loddon pipeline, Victoria ($20 million)
  • McLaren Vale wastewater treatment and reuse, South Australia ($2.5 million)

Funding will only be provided to state and territory governments in accordance with the Federal Financial Relations Act 2009 (Cth). A National Partnership Agreement will be established between the Commonwealth and state and territory governments to facilitate the payment of funds for approved water infrastructure projects.

To be eligible to apply for capital funding, you do not have to have received funding through the feasibility component of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

How to apply

If your EOI, including attachments, is under 20 MB, please email it to Water Infrastructure. If it is over 20 MB, please contact the Department via this email to discuss your submission.

For more information or if you have any questions email Water Infrastructure.

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

Feasibility component

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

The feasibility component of the fund has been fully committed. No further funding rounds will be conducted for this component of the fund.

Further information about the feasibility component of the fund and the studies funded under the feasibility component are available on the feasibility studies page.

Questions and answers

Will the assessment process consider recommending an EOI be offered less than the funding requested?

No. EOI will be merit assessed and recommended for funding on the basis of the information provided.

How can I demonstrate the “support of the state minister responsible for water”?

In order for a project to be eligible for Commonwealth funding, state/territory government support must be established to confirm relevant support for a project, including co-funding from state/territory governments.

Evidence of government support for a project can include, but is not limited to, a letter signed by the relevant minister and/or reference to expenditure commitments set out in state or territory budget statements.​

Must I have received funds for a feasibility study to be eligible for capital funding to build water infrastructure?

No. To be eligible to apply for capital funding, you do not have to have received funding through the feasibility component of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

What types of projects are eligible?

This funding is for construction of water infrastructure, including but not limited to dams, weirs, pipelines, managed groundwater recharge and water treatment and reuse schemes.

Please see Section 3 of the guidelines for further information on eligible and ineligible activities.

Can I seek funding for urban water projects?

No. Projects covering the construction, upgrade or maintenance of town water infrastructure are ineligible under the fund.

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

On-farm irrigation infrastructure developments primarily for private benefit are outside the scope of the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund.

Please see Section 2 of the guidelines for further information on how the Australian Government will invest, and Section 3 of the guidelines for further information on eligible and ineligible activities.

For information on other Australian Government water programs, including both on-farm and off–farm water infrastructure, visit Water programs in the Murray-Darling Basin.

Is there guidance on how Infrastructure Australia will assess EOIs seeking over $100 million in funding?

Infrastructure Australia will assess business cases consistent with their Assessment Framework and the Infrastructure Australia Statement of Intent 2015–17.

The guidelines note that project proponents should provide advice on the various components the Australian Government requires. In response to mandatory criterion 6, proponents seeking over $100 million in Australian Government funding should also include supporting documentation and completed Infrastructure Australia Stage 4 templates. For more information, please see Infrastructure Australia.

I'm having trouble emailing/uploading my EOI to the Department's system. What do I do?

Please ensure adequate time to email or upload and share documents with the Department. The department cannot view any documents you have uploaded to the Department's system until you share them.

If you persist in having issues, please email Water Infrastructure. The department will provide advice regarding options to complete submissions of EOIs.


The fund follows the release of the Water Infrastructure Options Paper PDF: 1793 KB by the Water Infrastructure Ministerial Working Group. This group confirmed that the Commonwealth can play a valuable role in supporting water infrastructure projects that:

  • have strong state support
  • are in the national interest
  • deliver net economic and social benefits and broader public benefits.

Water infrastructure must be built to the right scale, at the right time, with sufficient demand and with the right supporting infrastructure, such as roads. Early planning is necessary if major infrastructure proposals are to be properly considered to meet future demands.

The initial funding for feasibility studies will help governments and industry make decisions based on evidence about the best sites for new water infrastructure, and accelerate the completion of thorough business cases. Feasibility assessments will confirm sufficient demand from users to meet the ongoing costs of water supply, so farmers are not burdened with ongoing operational and maintenance costs they cannot afford over the longer term.

The funding component for northern Australia recognises its unique circumstances, especially the lack of water resource assessments at catchment level, which are 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.