About the Freshwater Improvement Fund

About the Freshwater Improvement Fund and the criteria projects must meet to be eligible for funding. There is no current funding round for the Freshwater Improvement Fund. To be notified of the next funding round email fif@mfe.govt.nz with 'Subscribe for updates on funding rounds' in the subject line.  

Purpose of the fund

The Freshwater Improvement Fund supports projects that help communities manage fresh water within environmental limits. The Government has committed $100 million over 10 years to the Freshwater Improvement Fund. The Government committed $47 million of funding to improve freshwater management in vulnerable catchments in 2017. 

Eligibility criteria

Eligibility criteria must be meet before your application will be considered for funding. Meeting eligibility criteria does not guarantee funding.

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:

a.  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

b.    increase iwi/hapū, community, local government, or industry capability and capacity in relation to freshwater management
c.    establish or enhance collaborative management of fresh water
d.    increase the application of mātauranga Māori in freshwater management
e.    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 fund will cover a maximum of 50 per cent of the total project cost.
5.    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.
6.    The project must achieve benefits that would not otherwise be realised without the fund or are not more appropriately funded through other sources.
7.    The effectiveness of the project and its outcomes will be monitored, evaluated and reported.
8.    An appropriate governance structure in place (or one will be established as part of the project).
9.    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.

Contact us

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