A NSW Government website

National Water Grid Authority

National Water Grid Fund applications

Find out more about the application process.

New pipes at Calala, NSW.

The application process

  1. Open

    1. The department’s Water Group opens stage 1 applications for four (4) weeks, in advance of the next National Water Grid funding round.

  2. Evaluation

    2. The Water Group evaluates projects for eligibility and alignment to National Water Grid Investment Framework and NSW Government considerations.

  3. Shortlist

    3. An evaluation committee shortlists projects to recommend to the Deputy Secretary, Water Group and the NSW Minister for Water to proceed to stage 2 applications.

  4. Collaborate

    4. The Water Group’s Infrastructure Development team works with shortlisted projects to develop the stage 2 formal funding application.

  5. Submission

    5. Applications are submitted to the Australian Government for assessment and funding consideration. The funding decision is usually made within three-four months.

    See the National Water Grid Fund - NSW guidelines for applications PDF, 328.33 KB for further information about project eligibility, the evaluation process, and the next steps for projects selected for the January 2024 funding round.

NSW Government role in the National Water Grid Fund application process

The NSW Government plays a role both in evaluating applications for eligibility against the National Water Grid Investment Framework and the NSW Government requirements, and in supporting proponents to develop an application prior to submission to the National Water Grid Authority.

The Water Group's program Development and Management team are the key contacts within the NSW Government responsible for supporting proponents with developing applications and the assessment of these applications before recommendations are made to the Executive Director Infrastructure Development, the Deputy Secretary, Water Group and the NSW Minister for Water.

The role of the team is to:

  • evaluate the expressions of interest against the NWGF Investment Framework eligibility criteria and NSW Government requirements to identify a short-list of projects and programs through the open applications process
  • seek Executive Director Infrastructure Development, Deputy Secretary, Water Group and NSW Minister for Water approval on the short-listed proposals
  • coordinate with proponents to develop applications for funding (noting the proponents are ultimately responsible for completing the proposal).

The Executive Director Infrastructure Development endorses the applications before they are recommended to the Deputy Secretary Water Group and the NSW Minister for Water for submission to the NWGA. A probity advisor will oversee this process.

Evaluation criteria

Mandatory evaluation criteria identify the minimum requirements essential to a successful application. These requirements are evaluated on a pass/fail basis. Applications failing to meet the requirements are given no further consideration. Merit-based evaluation criteria (or assessment criteria) are used to determine the relative technical merit of each application and the best overall value.

National Water Grid Investment Framework

Eligibility for NWGF funding is set out in the National Water Grid Investment Framework. The investment framework underpins how the NWGA advises the Australian Government on national water infrastructure investment decisions and processes.

To be eligible for National Water Grid Fund funding, projects must:

  • be a new capital investment in infrastructure that increases the security, quality and/or availability of water for regional and remote communities, and/or productive use
  • deliver a demonstrable public benefit with a national interest element and demonstrated engagement with affected stakeholders (including First Nations people)
  • be brought forward with strong support by a state or territory government (including securing funding contributions) and be dependent on a Commonwealth contribution.

Projects seeking funding through the First Nations Infrastructure Program must also:

  • prioritise First Nations communities that don’t have access to clean and reliable drinking water.

Projects seeking funding through the Science Program must meet one of the following themes:

  • analyse water resources, to understand future sustainability and nature positive development options
  • identify and progress alternative and emerging opportunities to increase water security and climate change resilience
  • develop new information resources to support decision-making, including decision support tools and science communication.

NSW Government considerations

All project applications must demonstrate they have strong NSW state support, and co-funding from the state, proponent and/or beneficiaries. NSW therefore assesses projects and programs warranting NSW and Australian Government funding based on the criteria set out in the investment framework, as well as the NSW-specific considerations. These include whether the project:

  • is identified as a NSW government priority
  • is prioritised by existing policy drivers
  • is based in a regional or remote community with critical town water security issues
  • already has co-funding secured
  • also improves environmental outcomes and/or outcomes for First Nations people.

All assessment criteria in the application must be addressed and all will have equal weighting.

Contact us

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