News & Insights


2 November 2018 – Securing reliable access to water beyond the current drought crisis was given a boost this week with the Federal Government releasing Expressions of Interest guidelines for the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund’s special drought round of funding.

The move is part of the Government’s $1.8 billion drought package released in August and will see State and Territory Governments vie for a share of the $72 million in funding set aside for water infrastructure in drought affected regions.

The funding will be drawn from the $580 million National Water Infrastructure Development Fund – a product of the Agricultural Competitiveness White Paper and the White Paper on Developing Northern Australia – which is tasked with accelerating the detailed planning and construction of water infrastructure projects that will deliver new and affordable water, enhance water security and help stimulate regional economic development including through primary industries and new and expanded agriculture.

According to the Department of Infrastructure, Regional Development and Cities, the special drought round of funding will be provided for the construction of water infrastructure projects that will increase long term water availability and security for primary producers, businesses and communities in drought affected regions.

Central to the funding guidelines, projects must be permanent water infrastructure projects, have the support of the relevant state or territory government minister, and be in a position to move into the construction phase within 12 months of the closing date of applications, currently set for 11 December this year.

For this round of funding the National Water Infrastructure Development Fund defines drought affected regions as:

  • areas having experienced a rainfall deficiency in the 5th percentile for a period of 15 months or more ending any time between 30 June 2018 and 30 November 2018 as identified by the Bureau of Meteorology, or as defined:
  • by the Queensland Government as a ‘fully drought-declared shire’ or a ‘partly drought-declared area’,
  • by the New South Wales Government as experiencing ‘drought’ or ‘intense drought’.