Species composition and productivity are influenced by water and N availability in semi-arid grasslands. To assess the effects of increased N deposition and water supply on plant species composition and productivity, two field experiments with four N addition treatments, and three N and water combination treatments were conducted in alpine grassland in the mid Tianshan mountains, northwest China. When considering N addition alone, aboveground biomass (AGB) of forbs (F-AGB) responded less to N addition than AGB of grasses (G(AGB)). G(AGB) increased as an effect of N combined with water addition but F-AGB did not show such an effect, reflecting a stronger response of grasses to the interaction of water availability and N than forbs. Under all treatments, N allocation to the aboveground tissue did not change for either forbs or grasses. N deposition and water addition did not alter species richness in the present study. These results suggest that N addition generally promoted AGB but had little effect on species richness in wet years. Snowfall in winter combined with rainfall in the early growing season likely plays a critical role in regulating plant growth of the subsequent year in the alpine grassland.