Local water utilities

Questions and answers

Why can't I apply for funding under Stream 1 or 3 of the SSWP?

Funding is limited. The SSWP has been streamlined to ensure only the highest priority risks are funded. DPIE maintains the list of the highest priority risks and as soon as the priority list has been sanctioned by all relevant departments DPIE will contact you directly to advise if the risk is eligible for potential funding under the program.  If you have identified a new risk that may be high priority contact your Regional Manager.

What are the main changes to the SSWP after 1 April 2019

The revised SSWP will be allocated on a risk based priority framework decided by the stakeholder agencies within NSW Government.

Priority risks will be funded until the risk is resolved or no longer a priority.

Funding will be now be available for non-infrastructure projects such as Integrated Water Cycle Management Strategy (IWCMS) development.

Co-funding contribution percentages from NSW Government are either the same or increased from the previous scheme and based on LWU revenue.

Do I need to submit an EOI?

No, EOIs are no longer part of the SSWP application process. The Department will invite LWUs to apply if a risk has been prioritised under the framework.

We have a previously un-identified risk, how do we get it prioritised under the new framework?

New eligible risks can be identified by an LWU or the department at any time during the life of the Program. You should contact your Regional Manager to discuss any new risks you identify with the supporting data to support the increased risk rating.

You will need to demonstrate how the risk fits in with your long term strategy (IWCMS) or with an equivalent strategic planning report.

The new risk will assessed by the SSWP team for confirmation by the Prioritisation Review Panel.

Is the IWCMS separate and will it affect Stream 1 potential funding?

The IWCMS is separate and funded under Stream 2 however, the outcomes of an IWCMS can affect prioritisation of risks under Stream 1.

At what point is funding eligible for IWCMS, is there a cut off?

If you have already engaged a contractor you will not be eligible but if you are halfway through your IWCMS and you have a sub-component, such as a Drought And Emergency Management Plan which has not been contracted out we may fund this.

Will projects already funded under another NSW Government grant program, but not yet under contract, be eligible under the SSWP for additional funding?

While co-funded projects are encouraged, "double dipping" is not. Projects that have previously received NSW Government funding would need to clearly justify further NSW Government support and will be considered on the merit of the risk prioritisation, total benefits and costs.

Does the Program include funding to purchase another LWUs water/waste water business?

Expansion of an LWU's business is not eligible for funding.

Which dams, prescribed in the Dam Safety Act as being above the 'limit of tolerability', will be considered for funding to repair or decommission?

The following dams are eligible to apply for funding under the Program;

  • Dumaresq Dam
  • Gosling Creek Dam
  • Winburndale Dam
  • Imperial Lake Dam

What guidelines are available for Business Case & Cost Benefit Analysis (CBA)?

Demonstration of a benefit cost ratio above 1.0 is no longer a prerequisite for funding under SSWP.  NSW Treasury template for Business Cases (available on the Treasury website) may continue to be used, however we recommend the use of the SSWP Project plan/Business case template for projects under $10 million. Approval of an LWU’s Business case / Project Plan is a prerequisite before a project can progress from planning into delivery stage and will inform input to the funding deed for that phase.

Critical paths such as Section 60’s may hold up the process, how can we avoid this and how can we ensure our Section 60 process is aligned?

For treatment plants it's vital to follow the correct Section 60 approval process and engage with the appropriate entities early. Contact your Regional Manager who can provide Scope assistance and advice. View the following for more information about Section 60:

Is funding available for Best Practice Documents?

Operations, Maintenance and Administration including best practice documents are not eligible for funding under SSWP

Are there limitations on the delivery mechanism?

No, the delivery model is up to you as long as you can demonstrate value for money. Some can be done “in house” and others contracted out.

My project doesn't appear to be eligible, but still has merit. What can I do?

Limited funding is prioritised based on risk. There are a range of other NSW Government regional programs which may be better suited to your project. These include the Restart NSW Resources for Regions and Regional Growth: Economic Activation Fund. Visit the Infrastructure NSW website for more information.

Are upgrades to water and sewerage infrastructure due to regulatory changes (e.g. pond lining to meet EPA requirements) eligible?


Will the same funding ratios apply to all three project phases?


How long will it take from submission of a detailed IWCM application or prioritised risk application to the signing of a funding deed?

We are very focused on completing the detailed applications as quickly as possible, although assessment times will vary depending on the complexity and completeness of the proposal. The department now controls the funding approval stages so we can provide feedback to the applicant on progression through the funding approval process.

Would a private partnership for infrastructure where private entities would benefit be eligible?

Projects that benefit multiple parties and meet regional scale strategic targets are highly valued; however only those components which meet Program eligibility criteria would be funded.

If we've already completed a scoping study and business case, do we need to do them again through the Program?

No. Proponents who have been contacted to apply for funding under the new prioritization framework can provide a scoping study or business case that they have already completed and it will be considered as long as it meets Program assurance criteria. If a Program assurance requirement (e.g. SSWP Project Plan / Business Case) is missing, you may be able to seek funding under the Program to complete that requirement.

A presentation was given at the Roadshow. Will it be made publicly available?

The presentation given by the department to potential applicants at the Roadshows throughout NSW during April, May and June will be made publicly available on the website once all Roadshows are complete.

Would purchase of land which will be inundated by a dam upgrade be eligible?

The Program funds water and sewerage infrastructure. Land purchase directly related to a dam upgrade (such as land for increased dam wall footings) may be eligible. Funding for the purchase of land not directly related to water and sewerage infrastructure would not be eligible.

I have recently identified a new risk and I want to apply for phase 1 funding for scoping, but I'm not sure the project will qualify.  How do I know what's eligible for funding?

New risks identified via an IWCM will be automatically added to DPIE’s database. Co-funding will only be granted to resolve prioritised risks. The SSWP team will contact you and let you know if the risk is eligible for co-funding under the prioritisation framework.

Those risks not prioritised for funding under the framework will remain under consideration until all funding is committed.  LWUs may contact SSWP if a new risk arises through an IWCM or an existing risk has become more critical.

Is there a minimum or maximum project value?


Is green house gas / energy taken into account as a risk factor for Stream 1 projects?

Energy is not a single driver within the SSWP prioritisation framework however, your IWCMS should consider all efficiency aspects including energy.

Have other NSW Government agencies committed to quickly processing relevant approvals? 

Applicants should liaise with all relevant approval agencies to ascertain approval times and allow for these in their project planning.

Is funding retrospective?


Does a LWU have to be fully compliant with the NSW 'Best-Practice Management (BPM) of Water Supply and Sewerage' framework to be eligible for funding under the SSWP?

The Best Practice Management framework provides a strong basis for good planning, management and the continued performance improvement of LWU business. Compliance of the framework is not a pre-requisite for financial assistance under the SSWP.

What does 'annual revenue' refer to?

Annual revenue' refers to the annual revenue of the Water and Sewerage business of the entity applying for funding.  For local water utilities, annual revenue is defined in the NSW Water and Sewerage Performance Monitoring Report published annually by the department.

How do you put a number on the public health benefit?

An assessment tool was developed as part of the Backlog program that allows for costing of health benefits based on scientific literature. This tool is being redeveloped/enhanced for the SSWP. Once it is ready and approved, clearly defined guidelines will be publicised to all relevant applicants.

Is there a maximum number or cost cap on prioritised risks for an LWU?

No. There is no maximum number of prioritised risks or cost cap.

How long do we have to submit a detailed ICWM or prioritised risk application?

Once an LWU has been advised that a risk is prioritised SSWP staff will work with the LWU to progress an appropriate solution. There is no defined time limit, however there is a limited pool of funding.

Will a draft funding deed or template be made available?

What do the two review panels do and when do they meet?

The Prioritisation Review Panels meets quarterly to consider any necessary changes to the prioritisation framework and to approve new risks that are prioritised under the framework.

The Gateway review panel meets monthly to assess projects at critical gateways to confirm if they have sufficient evidence to progress to the next phase.

Is staging or packaging of projects allowed?

Yes; however the reasons for staging and sequential timing would be taken into consideration and the applicant would need to carefully consider the implications staging may have on the cost benefit analysis, as well as the ability of the applicant to deliver packaged projects.

Can you reapply if an identified risk hasn't been successful previously?

Those risks not prioritised for funding under the framework will remain under consideration until all funding is committed.  LWUs may contact SSWP if a new risk arises through an IWCM.

What level of contingency is appropriate?

In line with the risk profile and complexity of a project Proponents may nominate appropriate contingency after concept estimates are prepared in line with the risk profile and complexity of a project. As the project progresses further through it’s lifecycle risk is clarified and contingency reduces. SSWP will allocate a final grant for stream 1 and stream 3 projects including contingency after market testing.

We  have an existing IWCMS but a new risk has, emerged, can we apply for funding for a new IWCMS?

You can apply for funding to address new risks identified through an IWCMS.

Are 'in-kind' contributions, such as wages for project/consultant management, included?

Reasonable costs for project management can be included, but should not include business-as-usual time spent by staff to operate the project.

We have a 'shovel ready' project and have submitted an application. Can we start work on the project before funding is approved?

Based on updated advice from Treasury, any project with a contract signed prior to funding confirmation by the Minister will become ineligible for funding through the SSWP.

Will technology projects such as a new SCADA system to optimise operation be eligible for funding from the SSWP?

The aim of the SSWP is to plan, design and construct solutions to prioritised risks relating to water and sewerage. If a technology upgrade is the best way for a proponent to achieve an outcome relating to water and sewerage risk, it may be eligible. If the technology is purely for strategic or other business purposes, it would not meet SSWP eligibility requirements. It is up to the proponent to make the case.