The water imperative

Water is fundamental to all life on Earth and its sustainable management is critical to the well-being of human societies. Rarely is one sector so important to achieving positive outcomes in numerous other sectors—food security, energy security, biodiversity and ecosystem health, disaster management—as well as many human needs from water supply and sanitation to recreation, spiritual and cultural requirements. It is no wonder that ‘water’ has risen to be consistently one of the top issues on the international development agenda.

On 1 January 2016, 193 countries around the world officially began implementation of the 2030 Agenda for Sustainable Development—a transformative plan of action based on 17 Sustainable Development Goals (SDGs)—to address urgent global challenges over 15 years. Water has been integrated into this United Nations initiative and is relevant in some way to all 17 SDGs, and to eight SDGs explicitly. Goal 6 is fully devoted to water: “Ensure availability and sustainable management of water and sanitation for all”, for the first time explicitly incorporating sustainable management of water.

Australia has played a global leadership role, as one of eleven countries on the High Level Panel on Water (HLPW), which kick-started the implementation of Goal 6. Australia’s leadership on water data, water use efficiency and innovation has enhanced our profile internationally and provided a platform to expand use of our recognised expertise for diplomatic, development and commercial outcomes.

Australia’s experience in water reform in a federal system of government, the application of science to build the foundation for national water policy, and the establishment of policies and institutions to ensure the sustainability of reforms are of keen international interest. The emerging international water crisis presents Australia with an urgent and timely opportunity to share its experience in sustainable water management to improve water security. AWP plays a key role in enabling this response.

Origins and growth

In May 2015, the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) established the AWP through the Australian aid program under an initial four-year, $20 million grant. AWP was conceived to respond to the water management needs of developing countries in the Indo-Pacific and beyond, specifically on topics where Australia has specialist expertise in short supply globally.

AWP has proven itself as the timely provider of high-quality services to meet the specific requirements of developing countries, and following an independent Mid Term Review by DFAT, it was approved for a second four-year grant to 2023.

Through collaborative, trusted partnerships, and leveraging limited available resources, AWP is achieving significant outcomes.

Our vision

Enhanced sustainable management of water in the Indo-Pacific and beyond

The AWP has the vision to support sustainable water resource management and water security in the Indo-Pacific region and beyond. We are achieving this by drawing on the breadth and depth of the Australian water sector across government agencies, the private sector, universities, consultancies, and Non-Government Organisations (NGOs), and by continuing to grow and learn through implementation.

Our mission

Through trusted partnerships, mobilise Australian water sector expertise to address demand from the Indo-Pacific and beyond

AWP’s mission is to:

  • become a trusted adviser to governments and multilateral agencies;
  • provide a world-class incubator and hub for information, modelling and capacity development for Australian and international water sectors;
  • share resources, information, and lessons learned; and
  • maximise Australia’s contribution to the achievement of the Sustainable Development Goals.


Program priorities

The AWP supports a range of activities that draw on Australian expertise to meet demand from International Partners. These activities are framed across four water use domains within the context of managing water scarcity and security: river basins, irrigation modernisation, integrated urban water management and environmental water (quantity and quality). There are also several cross-cutting priorities that AWP is committed to improving across its activities, such as gender equity in the management of water, fostering young and emerging water professionals, and achieving positive outcomes within the water-food-energy nexus.

We work in collaboration with International Partners in priority countries in South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and with other countries outside the Indo-Pacific on a selective basis.


Our Team

The AWP’s management team is based in Canberra and oversees program management, collaborative partnerships, knowledge sharing, outreach, communication and ‘domain’ knowledge of the domestic and international water sectors. The Chief Executive and senior management staff meet regularly with the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade and the AWP Advisory Committee on matters relating to the strategic planning and reporting of these areas. The team also works closely with its Australian and International Partners.


Nick Schofield
Chief Executive
Marian Neal
Partnerships & Knowledge Manager
Simon Tilleard
Program Manager
Shannon Li
Communications Manager
Enesh Seyitmyradova
Senior Knowledge Officer
Ashleigh Rhind
Senior Program Officer
Ingrid Carlier
Senior Program Officer
Caitlin Windross
Program Officer
Jack Collins
Program Officer
Veitania Lepani
Program Officer
Felicity Paul
Office Manager

The AWP Advisory Committee (AWPAC) was established by the eWater Ltd Board.  Committee members were appointed following an open call which attracted a large number of nominations from across the water sector.  The Committee is not a representative body, but appointments took into account gender, geographical reach and expertise across AWP’s four water management domains that are the focus of its work.

The purpose of the AWPAC is to advise and support the EWL Board in the successful execution of the AWP Grant Agreement by:

  • formally and visibly linking AWP to key stakeholder groups in the water industry in Australia and internationally;
  • providing independent information and advice on strategic issues or risks confronting AWP;
  • encouraging and supporting the exploration of new business ideas for the AWP that can generate opportunity;
  • providing specialist independent expertise in the assessment of international requests for funding through proposals; and
  • monitoring the performance of the AWP and considering options for improving performance.


Bob McMullan
Committee Chair
Hannah Birdsey
Committee Member
View bio
Leith Boully
Committee Member
Roch Cheroux
Committee Member
Joanne Chong
Committee Member
Malcolm Shepherd
Committee Member
Robert Skinner
Committee Member
Geoffrey Spencer
Committee Member
Jody Swirepik
Committee Member

The AWP Expert Review Panel (ERP) was established to ensure effective adoption of operational objectives and application of the Commonwealth’s ‘value for money’ procurement principles in the selection of partner teams.

The ERP consists of 15 members with high-level skills and experiences in water management, and collectively covering the following water sector domains:

  • River basin planning and management
  • Urban water policy and management
  • Irrigation modernisation and management
  • Enabling methods and technologies for water reform

Including cross-cutting issues such as Gender Equality and Social Inclusion.

Colin Chartres
Richard Davis
ERP Member
Annette Davison
ERP Member
Kevin Devlin
ERP Member
Jane Doolan
ERP Member
Melita Grant
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Karen Hussey
ERP Member
Daniel Lambert
ERP Member
John Langford
ERP Member
Russell Merz
ERP Member
Suzette Mitchell
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Tom Mollenkopf
ERP Member
John Riddiford
ERP Member
Murray Smith
ERP Member
Rob Vertessy
ERP Member