Evidence-based water infrastructure investments

How National Water Grid projects are funded

The National Water Grid Authority (NWGA) is working with state and territory partners to identify, select and fund water infrastructure projects that will support Australia’s agricultural and primary industry sectors, build drought resilience and drive growth in regional economies.

The NWGA has developed a strategic long-term plan to secure Australia’s water future. Developed in consultation with the states and territories, the National Water Grid Investment Framework PDF: 4.6 MB provides a clear, long-term, strategic approach to investment in the next generation of Australia’s water infrastructure.

The Framework supports a long-term commitment to developing water infrastructure in Australia to grow agriculture and employment in our regions, and strengthen resilience to changing climate conditions. It looks at the water infrastructure program lifecycle and helps identify priority projects that will support the development of the National Water Grid.

  • Fact sheet: National Water Grid Investment Framework PDF: 1.3 MB

Key principles

Seven principles guide investment in nationally important water infrastructure.

  • Public benefit and national interest

    Projects should be of demonstrable public benefit and have a national interest element, including through securing the nation's water security, building resilience to future drought, supporting primary industries and promoting regional prosperity, including through the creation of jobs.

  • Strong state support

    There must be strong support including funding contributions and involvement of the private sector and local government, where appropriate.

  • Highest net benefit

    The investment should provide the highest net benefit of all options available to increase access to water, taking into account economic, social and environmental impacts.

  • Working together

    Projects should look to address circumstances which cannot be effectively addressed by private proponents, the states or other stakeholders alone.

  • Alignment with National Water Initiative Principles

    Projects should align with the National Water Initiative principles, including appropriate cost recovery, and where full cost recovery is not deemed feasible, any subsidies are fully transparent.

  • Consistent and robust analysis

    If providing capital, a consistent, robust analysis of costs and benefits is used and assessment of appropriate funding and financing arrangements is undertaken.

  • Early involvement

    Earlier involvement in project identification and development, including through the NWGA’s Science Program, support for business case development, and close collaboration with the states and other project proponents.


Fast facts

Investment in the next generation of Australia’s water infrastructure will support our agriculture and primary industry sectors, promote growth and sustainability of regional economies and build resilience.

  • Did you know?

    Improving water access and security for agricultural and industrial use will support growth and open up new opportunities.

  • Did you know?

    Increasing water supply certainty for farmers, businesses and agriculture and primary industry sectors will encourage long-term planning and investment, positioning regions for growth.

  • Did you know?

    The National Water Grid will capture and store water so it is more readily available in regions during drought and in response to changing climate patterns.