Freshwater Improvement Fund eligibility and assessment criteria

Criteria your project will be assessed against when you apply for funding from the Freshwater Improvement Fund.

Eligibility criteria

Applications must meet the following eligibility criteria to be considered:

  1. The project must contribute to improving the management of New Zealand’s freshwater bodies
  2. The project must meet one or more of the following: 
    1. achieve demonstrable co-benefits such as:
      • improved fresh, estuarine or marine water quality or quantity 
      • increased biodiversity
      • habitat protection
      • soil conservation
      • improved community outcomes such as to recreational opportunity or mahinga kai
      • reduction to current or future impacts of climate change
      • reduced pressure on urban or rural infrastructure
    2. increase iwi/hapū, community, local government, or industry capability and capacity in relation to freshwater management
    3. establish or enhance collaborative management of fresh water
    4. increase the application of mātauranga Māori in freshwater management
    5. include an applied research component that contributes to improved understanding of the impacts of freshwater interventions and their outcomes.
  3. The minimum request for funding is $200,000 (excluding GST)
  4. The project will be funded for a maximum period of up to five years after which the project objectives will have been achieved or the project will be self-funding
  5. The project must achieve benefits that would not otherwise be realised without the fund or are not more appropriately funded through other sources
  6. The effectiveness of the project and its outcomes will be monitored, evaluated and reported
  7. An appropriate governance structure in place (or one will be established as part of the project)
  8. The applicant must be a legal entity.


  • Funding provided by the applicant may include Crown funding from other sources
  • Applications for projects that meet all eligibility criteria will be considered on their own merits for funding against the assessment criteria for the fund
  • Applications that do not meet the eligibility criteria will not be considered for funding
  • Meeting the criteria does not guarantee funding.

Assessment criteria  

Eligible applications will be assessed by a panel using the following criteria:

  1. The extent to which the project addresses the management of freshwater bodies that are considered vulnerable by the community, iwi/hapu, local or central government. 
  2. The project demonstrates improvement in the values and benefits derived from the freshwater body.
  3. The project contributes to recovery from COVID-19 through such things as, but not limited to, generating new employment and maintaining existing workforce capacity. 
  4. The extent to which public benefit is increased.
  5. The project demonstrates a high likelihood of success based on sound technical information or examples of success achieved through comparable projects undertaken elsewhere.
  6. The extent to which the project will leverage other funding.
  7. Where applicants request more than 50% of the project costs, the extent to which the higher funding contribution is justified by the COVID-19 recovery outcomes likely to be achieved.
  8. The project will involve the necessary partner organisations to ensure its success.
  9. The project will engage personnel with the required skills and experience to successfully deliver the project.

Contact us

If you have a question about the fund email: and include your name, organisation, a summary of what you want to know, and phone number.