Program guidelines

Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways streamlines our grants programs into one, simplified process to better support our customers and community.

three woman weeding by a stream

We are looking for projects and longer term partnerships that provide value to Melbourne Water, our customers, partners and community by aligning with at least one of the following themes:

  • Connected habitat and catchments
  • Integrated water management (IWM) enablers
  • Science, innovation and technology
  • Liveable cities

Are you eligible to apply?

  • To be eligible for consideration, your project must be located within Melbourne Water’s operating area:

map of Melbourne Water operating area
  • Melbourne Water welcomes applications from all our customers. This includes landowners, councils and public land managers, schools and community groups, individuals, universities and research institutions, multi-partner projects and collaborative groups.
  • You need to be an ABN-registered business, incorporated entity or group. If you do not meet these requirements you may want to consider entering into an auspice arrangement with an appropriate Auspice agency. Applications will be accepted from groups who are incorporated through Landcare Victoria Limited.

Private landholder applicants: If you are a private landholder who currently applies through the Rural Land Program or the Stream Frontage Management Program you will continue to apply through these programs until late 2021. Please refer to our existing partners page for more information. 

  • You must align with one or more of the four program themes (see above).
  • Your project must also align with our guiding principles:
    1. Provide multiple community and/or environmental benefit through application of best practice.
    2. Engage with our customers and community and inform them of our purpose and strategic direction.
    3. Have clear alignment with our strategies and services.
    4. Demonstrate collaboration to provide greater value beyond what can be achieved by Melbourne Water alone.
    5. Innovative projects that can be widely adopted (not required for all applications).
  • You cannot apply for funding if you have failed to complete and report on previous projects to the satisfaction of Melbourne Water.

Is your project on public land?

If so, you must must obtain written approval from the land owner/manager who will ensure that relevant occupational health and safety requirements are considered.

When submitting your online application, please include a signed document from the land manager as evidence of support. You can use the following template:

Formulating your project idea

For examples of projects and activities that have secured funding in the past, see Featured projects and partnerships.

Activities not eligible for funding:

  • Waterway or streamside fencing that is less than 10m from top of bank.
  • Works that would alter the form of the waterway, for example creating a pool in a creek.
  • Funding towards compliance activity or rectification associated with illegal works.
  • Funding for the delivery of works which form part of the conditions of a planning permit or permit application.

How your application is assessed

Applications will be assessed against the guiding principles and the following criteria:

  1. Strategic alignment: How well your project aligns with Melbourne Water strategies and objectives. We will also consider its alignment to government and community plans and programs (e.g. Integrated Water Management Forums, Water for Victoria plan, Yarra Strategic Plan, Waterways of the West etc).
  2. Benefit impact: The extent to which your project provides environmental, economic, social and cultural benefits that exceed the project site boundary.
  3. Engagement benefits: The extent to which your project promotes collaboration and encourages participation from others.
  4. Partnership benefits: The extent to which your project collaborates with other organisations.
  5. Capacity building: How your project will help build new skills and knowledge.
  6. Innovation and leadership: How your project can deliver Melbourne Water’s strategies and services in a more effective, efficient and safer way.
  7. Cost effectiveness: The funding requested represents value for money.
    Applicant co-contributions: While there are no minimum co-contributions specified for the program, applicant cash and/or in-kind contributions will contribute positively to the assessment of cost effectiveness. A matched 50:50 contribution either monetary and/or in kind is a general benchmark to use as a guide.
  8. In some instances, a site visit may also be necessary as part of the assessment.

Requirements for successful applicants

Melbourne Water meeting with farmers

Funding agreement and payment

Successful applicants will be required to enter into a funding agreement that will establish:

  1. the terms and conditions of funding
  2. the details of the activity
  3. the deliverables
  4. acquittal, evaluation and reporting requirements
  5. the schedule of payments.

Depending on the amount funded and complexity of your project you will either be required to sign a short form agreement or standard form agreement with terms and conditions. Melbourne Water uses the DocuSign electronic signature solution for signing agreements.

To find out more about the funding process refer to our FAQs in our Resource Hub.

Applications will be paid on the receipt of a signed agreement. Payment will be made by either an Electronic Funds Transfer to the nominated account or by invoice. Details on how to provide your payment information will be available when you receive your signed funding agreement.

Project milestones

Funding for projects with a higher budget may be paid in increments as agreed milestones are met. Details of milestone payments will be discussed with you by your Regional Incentives Officer and included in your Funding Agreement.

Permit requirements and standards

Please note, any offer of funding from Liveable Communities, Liveable Waterways does not negate the need to obtain a permit or other necessary approvals from Melbourne Water or other relevant authorities in order to undertake your agreed project.


The applicant will be required to report to their Regional Incentives Officer, usually at the mid-point of the project and on completion. This will be confirmed in your funding agreement together with details of the online documentation you are required to complete.

Last updated:
5 October 2020