A NSW Government website

Water infrastructure grants and funding

National Water Grid Authority

Investing in Australia's water infrastructure to unlock potential, build resilience, and promote growth and sustainability.

View of dam on a sunny day with trees surrounding
Funding opportunity: expressions of interest have closed

Expressions of interest to participate in the National Water Grid January 2024 funding round have closed. The department’s Water Group will assess proposals for eligibility, identify those which best meet the funding criteria, and work with selected organisations to help develop funding proposals for consideration by the Australian Government. All applicants will be notified of the outcome of their expression of interest.

About the program

The Australian Government’s National Water Grid Authority works closely with the NSW Government to ensure water infrastructure investment decisions in the state support national objectives – delivering long term viability for our communities and economy.

At the same time, it ensures the decisions deliver against a range of social, environmental, cultural and economic outcomes.

To help achieve this work, the Australian Government, through the National Water Grid Fund, makes funding available for priority water infrastructure projects to improve the reliability and security of water for Australia’s regional and remote towns, agriculture and primary industry sectors.

This goes beyond just funding new infrastructure and includes investing in scientific research to drive long-term, economically sound, environmentally sustainable and culturally responsive benefits for local communities.

In October 2022, the Australian Government announced changes to its Investment Framework to allow for a broader range of projects to be considered. This includes essential town water supplies in regional and remote communities, as well as increased engagement with First Nations peoples as projects are developed.

Australian state and territory governments are eligible to apply for funding and will work with local councils/authorities, irrigation corporations and science agencies on potential future priority water infrastructure projects.

Project eligibility 

Applications must meet the criteria set out in the National Water Grid Investment Framework as well as against NSW considerations.

The proponent must demonstrate how the project will provide long-term benefit to water security, agriculture and primary industry sectors, support regional economic development and build water supply resilience. For more information on the criteria, read the National Water Grid Investment Framework.

Proponents may be eligible to apply for funding to:

  • conduct feasibility/research studies under the Science Program:  potential funding will be up to 50 per cent or more where there is a demonstrated need
  • develop a preliminary business case: potential funding will be up to 50 per cent
  • develop a detailed business case: potential funding will be up to 50 per cent
  • undertake construction work: potential funding will be up to 50 per cent of the project’s total capital costs for delivery.

Examples of the types of current projects eligible for funding include:

  • recycling plants
  • groundwater storage
  • dams
  • weirs
  • pipelines
  • desalination plants
  • irrigation district modernisation or expansion
  • other projects facilitating the movement of water (bores, leaking pipes, water treatment systems).

Projects currently not considered for funding include:

  • on-farm initiatives
  • urban water storage and distribution systems (without a benefit to primary industry or regional development)
  • maintenance or refurbishment projects without a benefit element
  • projects supplying water for the exclusive use of a private business or individual.

Funded projects can be delivered in partnership with the Australian Government, a state or territory government, and one of the following:

  • local councils/authorities
  • irrigation organisations (defined as a person or body with irrigation entitlement for commercial agricultural production)
  • First Nations organisations
  • Australia's leading science agencies
  • private corporations, where the project has multiple beneficiaries.

In this case, the NSW Government will act as the applicant on behalf of proponents. The NSW Government can also put forward its own project submissions, which are subject to the same review and assessment processes.

NSW Government’s role

The department's Water Group will evaluate proposals for eligibility, and work with eligible applicants to help develop funding proposals for consideration by the NSW and Australian Government. This support may range from expert advice and coordination, through to on-ground support with application development and management of projects.

The Australian Government adheres to a stringent independent internal process as outlined in the NWGA Investment Framework across the lifecycle of funding applications from eligibility assessment, application development and review.  

If the application is successful, we will work with proponents to develop the Funding Agreement with the Australian Government and set up project level governance.

The selection and assessment process   

For the January 2024 funding application round, the NSW Government made an open call for project proposals from eligible organisations.  This open call closed on 5 December 2023.

The Water Group will now assess the submitted proposals for eligibility, identify those which best meet the funding criteria, and work with selected organisations to help develop funding proposals for consideration by the Australian Government.

See the National Water Grid applications page for more information.

Project locations

Project map

View projects in NSW that have previously received funding from the National Water Grid Authority, including completed projects and projects currently underway.

Contact us

If you have any questions or want to discuss a project proposal: