National Water Initiative


On 21 September 2015, responsibility for water policy and resources was transferred to the Department of Agriculture and Water Resources - Administrative Arrangement Order made on 21 September 2015.

This website will be updated to reflect these changes.

The National Water Initiative (NWI), agreed in 2004 by the Council of Australian Governments (COAG), is the national blueprint for water reform.

The NWI builds on the 1994 COAG Water Reform Framework.

The NWI is a shared commitment by governments to increase the efficiency of Australia's water use, leading to greater certainty for investment and productivity, for rural and urban communities, and for the environment.

Under the NWI, governments have made commitments to:

  • prepare comprehensive water plans
  • achieve sustainable water use in over-allocated or stressed water systems
  • introduce registers of water rights and standards for water accounting
  • expand trade in water rights
  • improve pricing for water storage and delivery
  • better manage urban water demands

NWI Biennial Assessments

Progress in implementation of the NWI has been reported by the National Water Commission in 2007, 2009 and 2011.

COAG sought advice in 2009 on addressing the main findings of the National Water Commission's second biennial assessment of progress in implementation of the NWI.

The 2011 report was also a comprehensive review of the NWI. The Department provided a submission in April 2011 in response to specific questions from the National Water Commission.

See also: