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. The Australian Water Partnership (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 Australian Water Partnership (AWP), and appointed eWater Limited (eWL) to manage the organisation. Through the Australian international development assistance program, DFAT has funded two four-year program grants and a range of specific purpose grants totalling almost $60 million through to June 2023. Read more about AWP Governance and Management.

Australia has been involved in the Mekong region for over two decades, with DFAT’s Greater Mekong Water Resources Program (GMWRP) – run out of DFAT’s Vientiane Post – a key part of Australia’s support to more equitable, transparent and effective water resources management in the region. At the request of DFAT Post, AWP is managing the new Australia-Mekong Water Facility (AMWF) until June 2023 and supported by a $9.86 million grant which offers a direct government-to-government line of engagement between Australia and countries in the Mekong region.

Through collaborative, trusted partnerships, and leveraging limited available resources, AWP is achieving significant outcomes and continues to grow from strength to strength.

Our vision

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

We aspire to deliver meaningful and enduring change by supporting, championing, promoting and enabling sustainable water resource management and water security.

Our mission

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

We are actively responding to the United Nations’ Sustainable Development Goals by catalysing change – working collaboratively with International, In-country and Australian Partners to implement development activities, share knowledge, build capacity andimprove water management approaches.

Our approach

We support a range of activities that draw on Australian expertise to respond to requests for assistance from our In-country and 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 equality, disability, and social inclusion 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 In-country and 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: View our activity portfolio.

AWP Operational Model
AWP Operational Model

Strategic directions

The AWP will prioritise its efforts around the following strategic directions which, together, will guide AWP towards its vision.

Enhance sharing of knowledge and tools for sustainable water management

AWP will establish a framework for Australian water knowledge relevant to international development and support the sharing of Australian Water Tools that encapsulate Australian knowledge.

Secure development outcomes

AWP will work side-by-side with its International Multilateral Partners to enhance their large-scale development investments with Australia’s unique expertise.

Implement gender equality and social inclusion

AWP will build awareness of, commitment to, and the implementation of principles of gender equality and social inclusion throughout its work.

Enhance capacity development in priority countries

AWP will introduce innovative and alternative capacity development paradigms and support in-country programs to empower young water professionals and future water leaders.

Strengthen and diversify our partnerships

AWP will pursue ongoing engagement and collaboration with leading international institutions and strengthen a ‘Team Australia’ approach.

Focus our scope and geographies

AWP will prioritise geographies and domains where Australia has strategic interests and unique capabilities, aligned to the Australian Government’s Foreign Policy White Paper.

Corporate and operational reports

AWP Annual Report 2015-16 cover
AWP Annual Report 2015-16 (28mb)

This report sets out the progress and achievements of the Australian Water Partnership in its first full year of operation since its inception in May 2015.

AWP Annual Report 2016-17 cover
AWP Annual Report 2016-17 (20mb)

This report sets out the progress and achievements of the Australian Water Partnership in its second year of operation.

AWP Annual Report 2017-18 cover
AWP Annual Report 2017-18 (19mb)

This report sets out the progress and achievements of the Australian Water Partnership in its third year of operation.

AWP Annual Report 2018-19 (22mb)

This report sets out the progress and achievements of the Australian Water Partnership in its fourth year of operation.

AWP Annual Report 2019-20 cover
AWP Annual Report 2019-20 (28mb)

This report sets out the progress and achievements of the Australian Water Partnership in its fifth full year of operation (and first year into Phase 2).

AWP M&E Report 2015-19 (4.3mb)

This report details the progress made by AWP in achieving its intended outcomes and lessons learned over its first four years of operation (May 2015 to June 2019).

AWP Strategic Plan 2018-23 cover
AWP Strategic Plan 2018-23 (4.3mb)

This strategic plan outlines the vision, mission and future directions of AWP for Phase 2 (2018-2023).

AWP M&E Plan 2018-23 cover
AWP M&E Plan 2018-23 (356kb)

This plan provides clear guidance on how AWP will track and regularly assess progress towards outcomes and impacts during its second phase of funding (2018–19 to 2022–23).

AWP Knowledge Strategy 2018-23 cover
AWP Knowledge Strategy (738kb)

This strategy describes AWP’s approach to knowledge sharing and exchange, that articulates and promotes sustainable water management.

AWP Conflict of Interest Policy (254kb)

This policy details AWP governance processes relating to the management of actual, potential and perceived Conflict of Interest.

Our team

Senior management team and staff

Michael Wilson
Chief Executive
Rory Hunter
Program Lead
Sarah Ransom
Partnerships & Impact Lead
Shannon Li
Communications Manager
Neal Forster
Monitoring and Evaluation Specialist
Ingrid Carlier
Program Coordinator
Caitlin Windross
Snr Program Officer
Veitania Lepani
GEDSI and Program Officer
Lucía Gamarra
Program Officer
Felicity Paul
Executive Officer
Zach Zaman
Finance Officer

In-country coordinators

Katharine Cross
Mekong Coordinator
Vijay Kumar
South Asia Coordinator

AWP Advisory Committee

Bob McMullan
Committee Chair
Leith Boully
Committee Member
Roch Cheroux
Committee Member
Andrew Egan
Committee Member
Anna Jackson
Committee Member
Geoffrey Spencer
Committee Member
Poh-Ling Tan
Committee Member
Pichamon Yeophantong
Committee Member

Expert Review Panel

Colin Chartres
Richard Davis
ERP Member
Kevin Devlin
ERP Member
Jane Doolan
ERP Member
Melita Grant
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Helen Johnson
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Daniel Lambert
ERP Member
John Langford
ERP Member
Russell Merz
ERP Member
Suzette Mitchell
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Tom Mollenkopf
ERP Member
Sanmugam Prathapar
ERP Member
John Riddiford
ERP Member
Murray Smith
ERP Member

View our careers page for current open positions

Learn more about the Australian Water Partnership through our corporate and operational reports