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.

Strategic directions

The core of our strategy is our Theory of Change, which articulates how AWP will work with partners to achieve our objective of long-term development outcomes. It is built around three tiers of engagement with in-country partners, each with different levels of expectation around outcomes, ambition and impact reflecting the reality of our modest budget and ability to influence complex water systems.

The Theory of Change outlines how AWP supports individuals, organisations and institutions along a continuum, from acquiring and applying knowledge and skills to ultimately adopting newly gained understandings to practical water challenges.   

Read more about the Principles underpinning our strategy in our Strategic Plan and review our performance refresh webinars for more details including FAQs on the Theory of Change.

Corporate and operational reports

Our corporate and annual reports are available on our Publications page.

Our team

Senior management team and staff

Sarah Ransom
General Manager
Rohan Kent
Program Lead
Anita Walters
Strategy and Partnerships Lead
Emily Barbour
Mekong Program Lead
Zoe Talsma
Communication Manager
Van Duong
Program Coordinator
Ingrid Carlier
Program Coordinator
Shreya Gyawali
Senior Program Officer
Lucy Chilver
Program Officer
Lachlan Prien
Program Officer
Felicity Paul
Executive Officer
Tanmay Singh
Events and communications officer

In-country coordinators

Laura Beckwith
Mekong Coordinator

eWater Group CEO

Michael Wilson
Group CEO

AWP Advisory Committee

Bob McMullan
Committee Chair
Leith Boully
Committee Member
Roch Cheroux
Committee Member
Anna Jackson
Committee Member
Geoffrey Spencer
Committee Member
Poh-Ling Tan
Committee Member
Pichamon Yeophantong
Committee Member
Cate Rogers
Jane Doolan

Expert Review Panel

Daniel Lambert
Joanne Chong
ERP Member
Kevin Devlin
ERP Member
Jane Doolan
ERP Member
Melita Grant
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
Helen Johnson
ERP Member (GESI Specialist)
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
Simon Hausler
ERP Member

View our careers page for current open positions

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