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National Water Grid Authority

National Water Grid Fund applications

Participate in the next National Water Grid funding round.

New pipes at Calala, NSW.
Open

The NSW Government is calling for expressions of interest to participate in the Australian Government’s next National Water Grid funding round in June 2024.

We encourage eligible organisations to:

Applications must be submitted no later than Monday 13 May 11:00 pm AEST to be considered for the June 2024 funding round.

More information

A briefing on how to apply, the evaluation process, and next steps will be available shortly.

The application process

  1. 1.

    The Water Group in the Department of Climate Change, Energy, the Environment and Water seeks Stage 1 expressions of interest for three weeks.

  2. 2.

    The department’s Water Group evaluates proposals for eligibility and alignment with the National Water Grid Investment Framework and NSW Government considerations.

  3. 3.

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

  4. 4.

    The Water Group works with shortlisted projects to develop the Stage 2 formal funding application.

  5. 5.

    The NSW Government submits applications to the Australian Government for assessment and funding consideration. The funding decision is usually made within three to four months.

National Water Grid investment framework

Eligibility for 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 increasing 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.

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

  • prioritise First Nations communities without access to clean and reliable drinking water.

Proponents 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.

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.

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 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.

Late applications

Applications received after the closing date will be deemed to be 'late' and will be registered as ‘late’. A late application will only be admitted for evaluation if the Water Group, at its absolute discretion, determines the acceptance of a late application will not compromise the integrity and competitiveness of the process and it is considering applications providing the best outcome.

Incomplete applications

The eligibility criteria listed in the detailed application form will be more thoroughly evaluated when proponents are asked to complete the NWGA funding application in full as part of Stage 2.

The Water Group reserves the right not to progress applications as part of Stage 2 if the NWGA application template has not been completed with sufficient detail to satisfy the criteria.

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 then in supporting proponents to develop applications prior to submission to the Australian Government.

The Water Group’s Program Development and Management team is the key contact within the NSW Government responsible for supporting proponents with developing applications and the assessment of these applications before recommendations are made.

The role of the Program Development and Management team is to:

  • evaluate the expressions of interest against the 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 the development of applications for funding with proponents (noting the proponents are ultimately responsible for completing proposals).

The Water Group’s Executive Director, Infrastructure Development, endorses the applications before they are recommended to the Water Group’s Deputy Secretary and the NSW Minister for Water for submission to the Australian Government.

A probity advisor will oversee this process.

Contact us

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