Stage 3 Evaluation of the Raising National Water Standards Program

by | Nov 5, 2012

Client: National Water Commission

The National Water Commission is an Australian Government statutory authority that advises the Council of Australian Governments and the Australian Government on national water issues and the progress of the National Water Initiative. The Commission managed the Raising National Water Standards Program which was a $250m investment and involved 177 projects that sought to improve Australia’s national capacity to measure, monitor and manage the nation’s water resources.

Key issues prevailing at commencement

• With the Raising National Water Standards Program ending on 30 June 2012, the Commission required a final evaluation of the Program in order to assess its achievements and identify lessons learnt and its legacy for ongoing water reform.

• Inovact had previously evaluated the Program at its midterm and at a later stage, and a final evaluation that synthesised findings across the three evaluations was needed. Click here to see the Stage 2 evaluation report.

• There remained a considerable set of investments that had not been evaluated. The stage 3 evaluation focused on the outcomes and impact of the Program through eight significant project groups comprising 142 projects with total approved funding of approximately $102m.

Key services provided by Inovact

• Used the evaluation framework designed for the stage 1 and 2 evaluations to provide consistency across the three evaluations.

• Undertook desktop research of project reports, interviews with Commission executives and their staff who managed projects within the groups examined, and an online survey of key participants associated with the project groups including advisory and steering committee members.

Outcomes and value to date

• NWC has a substantive report presenting the stage 3 evaluation findings and a synthesis of findings from the three evaluations to form an overall assessment of the Program now that it has concluded.

• Confirmation through an independent review that the RNWS Program has advanced the implementation of the National Water Initiative, improved integrated water management in Australia and improved knowledge and understanding of Australia’s water resources.

• Confirmation that the Commission met the Program’s targeted outcomes:

– Water management and reform being increasingly compatible at a national/multi-jurisdictional level.

– Knowledge and information for water reform being more compatible, better organised and able to be utilised in decision-making.

– The availability of skilled water professionals and workers being enhanced.

– Innovative approaches to water management and reform being tested and applied.

– Implementation of agreed water reform being accelerated by national leadership.

• The evaluation positions the Commission to further progress the National Water Initiative and continuously improve Australia’s water allocation and management.

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