Providing for environmental water needs is one aspect of national water management reform to which Australian jurisdictions have agreed and which is of great community interest. While demonstrating limited compliance with national policy requirements, Northern Territory policy for environmental water is underdeveloped. This desktop review aimed to identify effective features of environmental water provision policy in a context of concern about sustainability, with a view to inform the development of NT policy. The issue was backgrounded through brief exploration of scientific understandings about environmental water requirements and environmental water provision and the evolution of national policy. Environmental policy analysis is a relatively new field in Australia without established approaches or methodologies. It was argued that a focus on sustainability calls for new approaches to the structure and content of policy and Stephen Dovers' Environment and Sustainability Policy (2006) heavily informed the generation of nine criteria against which the environmental water policies of New South Wales, Queensland, South Australia and Western Australia were assessed. 32 policy documents available on the internet were analysed for evidence relating to each criterion via close reading with electronic keyword searches for a subset of the sample. The analysis found that jurisdictional implementation of national policy demonstrates different approaches and different stages, with some exemplary policy features across the sample able to inform recommendations for NT policy development. Partial implementation of sustainable features may reflect shortcomings of current national policy in its unclear balance between meeting environmental, economic and social needs, lack of full definition of the role of the community, and little emphasis on the educative component of policy. The role of public researcher revealed that these public policies were more easily accessible to community members in only one jurisdiction.