On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme

On 2 October 2020, the Australian Government announced an additional $50 million of funding for the expansion of the On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme in 2020-21.

The roll-out of the expanded Scheme is currently being negotiated with all states and territories, including co-funding arrangements. Read the Minister’s announcement - Joint media release: $50 million boost to successful drought water infrastructure rebate.

The On-farm Emergency Water Infrastructure Rebate Scheme is an Australian Government measure to reduce the impact of drought and improve drought resilience.

The Scheme was initially a $50 million commitment running from June 2018 to June 2021.

Due to the high level of interest in the Scheme, the Australian Government committed a further $50 million, bringing total Commonwealth funding to $100 million. The expanded scheme introduces co-funding from states and territories further bolstering support available to drought-affected farmers.

Rebates are available to drought-affected primary producers and horticulture farmers to buy and install on-farm water infrastructure to water permanent plantings and livestock.

Eligible farmers can claim up to 25% of expenses associated with new purchases and installation of on-farm water infrastructure up to a maximum of $25,000.

Access rebates

State and territory governments administer and deliver the rebates. Rebates for primary producers and horticulture farmers were available in all states and territories; however, the Scheme is oversubscribed in all jurisdictions except Tasmania and the Australian Capital Territory. The Hon Keith Pitt MP, Minister for Resources, Water and Northern Australia is currently seeking the interest of each jurisdiction in participating in the expanded Scheme. Please refer to each jurisdiction’s website for more details.

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Who can apply

You must be:

  • a primary producer or horticulture farmer (as defined by your state or territory)
  • a property owner, share farmer or lease holder
  • located in an area defined as drought affected (by your state or territory, please visit your jurisdiction’s website for further details)
  • in the grazing or horticulture industries.

Eligible expenses

Your new infrastructure must:

  • be for grazing livestock or permanent plantings that you own (rebates do not apply to agisted stock)
  • be for an animal welfare or permanent planting need
  • improve your drought resilience.

Eligible expenses for primary producers must relate to:

  • buying and installing
    • pipes
    • water storage devices such as tanks and troughs associated with stock watering
    • water pumps and associated electronic systems to manage water delivery
  • desilting dams
  • drilling new stock water bores and associated power supply such as generators.

Water infrastructure to support livestock watering must be purchased after 30 June 2018.

Eligible expenses for horticulture farmers must relate to:

  • desilting dams
  • drilling new groundwater bores and associated power supply such as generators.

Water infrastructure to support permanent plantings must be purchased and installed after 30 June 2019.

Rebates will be 25% of the costs for eligible expenses or up to a maximum amount agreed by the implementing state.


Benefits of the Scheme include reducing the impact of drought and improving drought resilience through

  • increasing flexibility in land management
  • increasing productivity
  • protecting high value assets
  • mitigating degradation of natural watering points
  • addressing animal welfare and permanent planting needs.

Questions and answers - Expansion

When will the additional funding be available?

The Australia Government is currently negotiating with states and territories to determine interest in the expanded Scheme.

Do all jurisdictions need to be signed on for the funding to be allocated?

No. Once one jurisdiction is signed on, they can be allocated funding and start disbursing rebates to farmers.

Other drought initiatives

The Australian Government is acting to help farmers and communities dealing with a range of on and off-farm challenges, including drought. You may also be eligible to apply for support through other drought and rural initiatives.

Last reviewed: 7 December 2020
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