Water Efficiency Program

The Water Efficiency Program provides funding to eligible water rights holders in the Murray-Darling Basin to help them upgrade their water infrastructure to improve water usage efficiency.

Close date: 30 Jun 2024 12:00 AM AEST.
Application detail:

Applications may be made at any time.

What do you get?

Funding amounts vary.

Who is this for?

Eligible water rights holders in the Murray-Darling Basin.


The Water Efficiency Program provides funding to help water rights owners in the Murray-Darling Basin improve their water efficiency.

Funding will be provided to eligible projects that have a neutral or positive social and economic impact, and may include:

  • urban water efficiency projects
  • industrial water efficiency projects
  • off-farm projects
  • metering projects
  • on-farm projects

Applicants must:

  • implement the project as agreed
  • return an agreed volume of water rights to the Australian Government
  • keep any extra water savings that the project generates

Projects will be funded at 1.75 times the current market value of the water rights applicants will transfer to the Australian Government.

What are the eligibility criteria?

To be eligible, you must:

  • own a water right, and
  • be capable of transferring that water to the Commonwealth under a contract to do efficiency works to achieve water savings

Eligible water rights are:

  • rights to exclusive access to a share of the surface water resources of a water resource plan area or other water management area
  • able to be permanently traded, or transferred, to the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder
  • free from encumbrances when the rights would be transferred
  • located within a water resource plan area identified in Basin Plan 2012 (Chapter 3, Part 2 s3.05 and s3.07)
  • owned by an eligible participant
  • suitable for use by the Commonwealth Environmental Water Holder to achieve environmental benefits

Projects must meet the following minimum water savings targets:

  • 10ML for projects delivered by a delivery partner
  • 100ML for projects delivered by a project partner

Delivery partners can seek approval for a 3ML target, only if water savings will be consolidated on their own licence and transferred in bulk.

How do you apply?

Applications may be made by either a project partner or a delivery partner.

A project partner is an eligible water rights holder or their agent with an intended project valued over $1 million.

A delivery partner:

  • is an organisation, or local, state or territory government
  • helps eligible water rights holders design and deliver their project
  • can manage projects of any size

Water rights holders with a project under $1 million must apply through a delivery partner.

Find out more about eligbility and how to apply at Water Efficiency Program.