Public'private partnerships have been implemented throughout the world since the 1970s with mixed results. This is mainly due to the lack of long run commitments from governments and other parties involved, lack of scientific understanding regarding clear short-term and long-term potential biophysical and socio-economic, policy and legal consequences, and lack of trust between the partners. We present a Regional Irrigation Business Partnership (RIBP) model, which is capable of efficiently utilising research output and government policies for sustainable public'private irrigation planning and investment. Unlike other public'private partnership models, the RIBP is based on robust assessment of biophysical, hydrologic, socio-economic, political and legal aspects of water management. The RIBP model provides a crucial link between research and infrastructure investments while minimising short-term and long-term risks. The business investment framework involves iterative feedback from research and policy for identifying markets, defining products and establishing a legislatively and institutionally acceptable route to market as part of the feasibility assessment process. The RIBP model is based on the principle that sharing risks, rewards, and responsibilities coupled with sufficient investment incentives will motivate actors in water management to invest in irrigation infrastructure that saves water and generates better outcomes for the environment. We describe application of the RIBP model in the Coleambally Irrigation Area in New South Wales, Australia.