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Australia’s development program

Water initiatives


The Australian Government is supporting stability and economic recovery by investing in water, sanitation and hygiene through a range of different approaches. The programs below provide a sample of global, regional, multilateral and bilateral initiatives.

Water for Women Fund

$118.9 million, 2017-2022

Our flagship water, sanitation and hygiene program, Water for Women (WfW) manages 18 projects across 15 countries in the Indo-Pacific.

WfW changes behaviours and attitudes to give women greater access to water and control over local and household water management. For example, in Timor-Leste WaterAid and CARE are working with authorities and villages across two large municipalities. The big emphasis in this program is on sanitation by providing toilets for households and educating people that open defecation and not washing your hands is unhealthy.

It was originally designed to improve water, sanitation and hygiene services and practices for over three million people. However, Water for Women was able to quickly respond to COVID across all 18 programs in 15 countries thanks to established relationships and networks on the ground, extending its reach.

These initial early pivots focused mostly on hygiene promotion and rapid supply of hygiene facilities and equipment in key locations such as health facilities, schools and other public places and institutions.

Most Water for Women projects were also able to develop additional longer-term COVID-related work programs and a further $3.4 million in funding was approved for these activities which are now well underway.

We estimate Water for Women has reached an extra 3.5 million people through additional COVID-19 related activities, primarily through hygiene promotion campaigns.

Additional information on the partnership and individual projects can be found on the Water for Women website.

The Australian Water Partnership (AWP)

$24 million, 2019-2023

The Australian Water Partnership (AWP) is a global program over four years 2019-2023 (Phase II) which mobilises Australia’s internationally recognised expertise in water management and supports our international development and foreign policy objectives.  AWP draws on water expertise from more than 200 mostly Australian partners. Since its inception in 2015, AWP has provided technical assistance projects to strengthen water resource management in some 30 countries, the vast majority in the Indo-Pacific.

AWP quickly responded to COVID-19, adjusting all its activities, refocusing many and develop some new initiatives to respond to COVID. For example, AWP has developed a Pacific “Telewater” network which provides virtual technical assistance to water utilities in the Pacific through a partnership with the Pacific Water and Wastewater Association (the industry association for water utilities in the Pacific).

AWP has developed a similar network with several water utilities in Vietnam, Cambodia and Indonesia through existing partnerships between the Australian Water Association and utilities in those countries.

AWP has supported Griffith University’s International Water Centre and Medical School to develop a COVID-19 Water Security index that assesses the vulnerability of 49 Indo-Pacific countries to COVID through a water lens.

Additional information on the partnership can be found on the Australian Water Partnership website.

The Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership (GWSP)

$26 million, 2017-2030

The GWSP is a multi-donor water partnership with the World Bank. GWSP leads global research on water also supporting the World Bank’s $30 billion investments in global water projects. It does this by generating global knowledge, research and technical analysis as well as providing country-level technical support and capacity building.

Our involvement supports Australian influence in how the World Bank uses its water-related assets in our region and globally and the use of Australian expertise.

Additional information on the partnership can be found on The Global Water Security and Sanitation Partnership website.

The Indonesia Australia Partnership for Infrastructure (KIAT)

$146.2 million, 2017-2021

Through KIAT we support development of high-quality infrastructure projects in water and sanitation, and transport; a reduction in regulatory constraints that impede infrastructure investment and building capacity of government bodies responsible for infrastructure delivery. In doing so we support sustainable and inclusive economic growth through improved access to infrastructure. KIAT is working with various partners to strengthen dialogue between government and civil society to ensure that women and other vulnerable groups are consulted in the planning, design, implementation and evaluation of infrastructure projects.

KIAT commenced implementation in May 2017 and replaces the Indonesia Infrastructure Initiative (IndII) facility.

KIAT also provides implementation support for the Palembang City Sanitation Project (PCSP), Water and Sanitation Grants Program (Watsan Hibah), Australia Indonesia Grants for Sanitation (sAIIG) and the Provincial Road Improvement and Maintenance Program (PRIM) (see below for further details).

Additional information on the partnership can be found on the Indonesia Australia Partnership for Infrastructure website.

The Asian Development Bank (ADB) Water Finance Partnership Facility

$6 million, 2019-2022

The Water Finance Partnership Facility (WFPF) mobilises additional financial and knowledge resources from development partners to support the Asian Development Banks’s lending on water and sanitation. The facility aims to significantly improve people’s access across the Asia and Pacific, to safe drinking water and improved sanitation, higher productivity and efficiency of irrigation and drainage services. The facility will be renewing its strategic plan and design in 2021 for the next phase of the fund.

Australia’s interest in this trust fund is to work with the Asian Development Bank to strengthen water and sanitation development outcomes across Asia and the Pacific.

Additional information on the partnership can be found on the Asian Development Bank Water Finance Partnership Facility website.

Partnership with the World Health Organization (WHO)

$5 million, 2018-2022

This program has two main aims in four focus countries, Bhutan, Indonesia, Philippines and Vietnam. The first aim is to strengthen water quality management and surveillance to improve access to safely managed drinking water. The second aim is to achieve higher quality health care through strengthened WASH in health care facilities. The program also develops global WASH guidance materials.

Partnership with the United Nations Children’s Fund (UNICEF)

$2.5 million, 2018-2022

The program supports improved WASH monitoring under SDG 6 in 14 regional countries, but focuses heavily on four, Solomon Islands, PNG, Cambodia and Indonesia. In these countries, it works to build capacity of national governments to develop, collect, analyse and use WASH data to improve access to water and sanitation.

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