About the AWP Brochure (1.8mb)

Water security in Asia and the Pacific is under threat. Improving agricultural water productivity, achieving energy needs, maintaining the resilience of cities in the face of rapid urbanisation and climate change, satisfying growing industrial water requirements, and protecting water quality and natural ecosystems all continue to pose deep challenges for development. The social, economic and political consequences of water shortages are real, as are the effects and impacts of worsening climate-related water extremes.

The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) offers a unique opportunity to bring together the Australian development and water sectors under a long-term strategic engagement framework. By sharing its experiences from three decades of water reform, and from learning to manage water as a scarce economic good, Australia can help international partners to develop a better understanding of their sustainable water resource base, implement robust basin-scale planning, enact governance reforms supported by innovative policy and legal frameworks, strengthen institutions and build professional capability, develop water sensitive cities, improve water quality and ecological health, and manage demand and improve water use efficiency, in a variable and drying climate.

Formation of the AWP

In September 2014, the Australian Minister for Foreign Affairs agreed that the Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade (DFAT) should establish an initiative to support public and private partnerships for sharing Australia’s water sector expertise in the Indo-Pacific region. Initially funded through the Australian aid program, the AWP will provide more efficient access to Australian water sector experience and expertise in response to growing demand for collaboration from governments and multilateral agencies in the region.

Deeper engagement in regional water issues will also open opportunities for Australia to learn from different approaches and enable participating professionals to explore water management issues of mutual interest and benefit.

The AWP was established in May 2015 with an initial DFAT investment of AUD$20 million over four years.  The AWP will seek co-investment collaborations with its international partners and may also incorporate fee for service activities where appropriate.

eWater has been contracted by DFAT as the AWP’s implementing partner, and operational governance—including partnering, investments and activity selection—will be overseen by an AWP Committee.

Our vision

To manage water resources effectively and equitably in the Indo-Pacific region to support sustainable economic development, improve water security for all, and reduce environmental and social impacts and regional tensions.

Mission & goals

The core development goal for the AWP is to enhance the sustainable management of water resources in the Indo-Pacific region, in turn supporting inclusive economic development, improvements to water security for all, and reductions in environmental and social impacts and regional tensions.

We will build an open, effective and enduring partnership that facilitates and supports:

  • strategic, long-term engagement of the Australian water sector with governments in the region, multi-lateral development organisations, water sector institutions, water use industries, and civil society
  • sharing between Australian and international partners of water reform experiences, expertise and technologies to underpin sustainable water use and management, and
  • enhanced capability and capacity to deliver effective and equitable water security outcomes, enhancement of private sector development and trade outcomes in water-related industries

For further details see the AWP Program Logic.


Program priorities

Guiding considerations for AWP-funded activities, especially in the initial phase, will be to reflect:

  • The development outcomes described in the AWP Vision and Mission
  • Australia’s unique experiences and expertise in managing water scarcity and climatic extremes
  • Engagement by a cross-section of water management and use sub-sectors, and International and Australian Partners
  • Australia’s strategic interests across the Indo-Pacific region
  • Strategic choices that offer productive long-term engagement and relationship building

The AWP will work in collaboration with international partners in aid-eligible countries in South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and with other Indo-Pacific countries on a selective basis.

Priority areas

The AWP will work in collaboration with international partners in aid-eligible countries in South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia and the Pacific, and with other Indo-Pacific countries on a selective basis.

Priority areas shown in South Asia, South-East Asia, East Asia and the Pacific.



Our collaborative offer

AWP’s core offer to International Partners will be centred on the sharing of Australia’s experiences in reforming water policy, management and use. This has been a three decade long journey, undertaken in response to prior periods of over-allocation, an increasingly variable and drying climate, the needs of rapidly-growing cities, declining source and receiving water quality, and growing water scarcity.

Where requested, the AWP will contribute to the integrated planning and allocation of available water resources, improving water supply and water use efficiency, and the management of water quality and ecological condition – all of which are key constraints to sustainable livelihoods and economic development.

It will help build institutional and technical capacity for water governance and management across the region. Improved policies, institutions, legal frameworks and tools will enable water managers to better deal with competing demands for surface waters, build resilience for climate extremes, reduce the unsustainable use of groundwater, and better manage pollution and protect aquatic ecosystems. In each of these areas, the Australian public and private sector can offer collaborative skills, experience and technology.

The AWP will encourage the sharing of knowledge and capability, dealing with complexity, trade-offs and opportunities in connected water systems in a holistic manner, across four core water reform themes:

Understanding the water resource base

– with integrated assessment of water availability and quality, catchment condition and ecosystem health.

River basin planning & water allocations framework

– including building resilience for climatic extremes.

Governance reforms & institutional strengthening

– including robust water entitlements and allocation frameworks.

Managing demand & improving efficiency

– including use by ecosystems.

The AWP will also seek to build economic, environmental and societal value across four water use domains:

  • Water-sensitive cities
  • Modern irrigation systems
  • Environmental water quantity and quality
  • Catchments and river basins.


Channels for assistance

Country partnerships

Direct engagement with priority partner countries, brokered through DFAT overseas missions and programs or under bilateral MoUs. Proposals for AWP activities and funding support will be developed collaboratively by AWP, DFAT and country partners.

Development partnerships

Strategic country and regional engagements brokered through the World Bank, Asian Development Bank or UN organisations. An open and simple means of submitting proposals (in priority countries) and accessing Australian experts and teams will be implemented, on a funded or co-investment basis.

Assisted access

Introductory assistance to countries or organisations, with support beyond initial exchanges or referrals to Australian partner expertise being limited or on a fee for service basis.

Knowledge networking and exchange

Strategic AWP activities focussed on building and sharing Australian and regional water reform experiences and knowledge. Supported activities may include study tours, workshops, training courses, web-based learning, and staff exchanges.



AWP Activities will be demand-driven, with support for international requests and proposals being focused on:

  • developing strategic relationships and exchanges
  • brokering and supporting access to Australian expertise and capability
  • facilitating private sector engagement and development, and
  • building and sharing knowledge.

Specific AWP-funded activities provided by Australian partners may include expert advice and technical assistance, pilot demonstrations of Australian approaches or technologies, facilitated delegations and study tours, professional staff exchanges and knowledge sharing, and participation in important regional dialogues, workshops and events.


Management & Advisory Committee


Andrea Milutinovic

Senior Program Officer


Ashleigh Rhind

Program Officer


Kaye Schofield AO

Committee Chair & Interim CEO


Leith Boully

Committee Member


Joanne Chong

Committee Member


Bill Costello

Committee Member


Malcolm Shepherd

Committee Member


Robert Skinner

Committee Member


Geoffrey Spencer

Committee Member


Jody Swirepik

Committee Member