National Water Week: how a water grid unites us

16 October 2023

We are all united by our need for safe and reliable water for drinking, growing our food and more. Have you taken time to think about how vital water is to every aspect of our lives or even where it comes from? This National Water Week, let’s look at some of the important ways the National Water Grid supports Australia’s water needs.

Improving access to safe and reliable water in remote communities

Did you know getting a glass of drinking water isn’t as simple as turning on the tap for some communities? The National Water Grid supports access to secure water through funding critical water infrastructure projects to regional and remote communities.

Our First Nations water infrastructure program

Communities without access to enough safe water can experience health, economic, cultural and social concerns as the result of this access. To help Close the Gap on water security, the Australian Government has committed $150 million of National Water Grid funding towards First Nations water security projects.

This year our first 6 First Nations construction projects across 2 communities were confirmed and are now underway:

The NWGA Science Program is supporting the evidence base for First Nations water security with a number of new research projects. For example, the program recently funded the CSIRO to undertake a review of water treatment technologies. These technologies are needed to treat and deliver safe and reliable drinking water to remote communities. The review included current, alternative and emerging water treatment options, matching them against the needs of communities and the capacity of available resources and conditions.

Supporting Australia’s agricultural industry

Australia’s agricultural industry helps provide the fresh food we rely on to keep our families healthy and well-fed. The National Water Grid funds projects to:

  • provide secure water supplies for irrigated land
  • reduce water losses
  • support climate adaptability for the agricultural sector
  • support opportunities for expansion of agriculture to provide community and economic benefits.

Project examples

The Werribee Irrigation District Modernisation project includes replacement of an old irrigation network with a modern, automated pipeline. A reliable piped supply means less water is lost to leakage and evaporation, supports security of water supply to farms to increase vegetable production in the region, and ensures irrigators are more climate resilient.

Business cases such as the Ord River Expansion into the Northern Territory can investigate where infrastructure could benefit agriculture. This business case is looking at infrastructure options to deliver water to the Northern Territory from Lake Argyle in Western Australia to support the expansion of the Ord River Irrigation Area. Moving this water would provide cropping and livestock production opportunities for the region.

Building our climate resilience

Australia’s water needs to be sustainable, reliable and resilient to drought and a changing climate. The National Water Grid supports this through science, research and infrastructure projects. Examples include:

Taking a nature positive approach

The National Water Grid supports responsible funding decisions that promote nature positive outcomes, managing nature better for the future. This can include helping to restore natural ecosystems and use of sustainable construction practices.

A great example of this is Rookwood Weir in Queensland where the project is rated ‘Excellent’ by the Infrastructure Sustainability Council.

Learn more