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4602.0 - Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, Mar 2007  
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 06/12/2007  Final
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MAIN FINDINGS

Sources of water

  • In March 2007, 93% of households were connected to mains/town water. Nearly all (99%) households in capital cities were connected to mains/town water, compared with 85% of households outside the capital cities.
  • More than eight in ten (81%) Australian households rely on mains/town water as their main source of water for drinking. This rose to 89% for households in capital cities, and dropped to 66% for households outside the capital cities.
  • Forty-two per cent of households used mains/town water as their main source of water for gardening. The Northern Territory (73%) had the largest proportion reporting mains/town water as their main source of water for the garden, whereas Queensland had the lowest with only one quarter of households reporting mains/town water as their main source of water for the garden.
  • More than three-quarters (77%) of households were satisfied with the quality of the mains/town water.
  • Twenty nine per cent of households who reported mains/town water as a source, used a water filter. This figure was highest in South Australia (38%) and lowest in the Northern Territory (14%) and the Australian Capital Territory (15%). These two territories also reported the highest levels of satisfaction with the quality of the mains water.
  • Grey water was the second most common source of water for Australian households, with 55% of households reporting it as a source of water. Victoria (72%) and the Australian Capital Territory (63%), had the highest proportion of households reporting grey water as a source.
  • Nearly one-quarter of Australian households reported using grey water as their main source of water for the garden. Victoria (43%) and Queensland (27%) had the greatest proportion of households that used grey water as their main source of water for the garden.
  • Nineteen per cent of households in March 2007, purchased bottled drinking water, down from 21% in 2004.
  • In March 2007, slightly more than 1.5 million households (19%) reported a rainwater tank as a source of water for their dwelling. South Australia had the highest proportion (45%).
  • One in ten capital city households, and one third of households outside capital cities, reported sourcing water from a rainwater tank.


Use of rainwater tanks
  • The proportion of households that reported a rainwater tank as a source of water increased to 19% in March 2007 from 17% in March 2004 and from 15% in June 1994.
  • The most common reason reported by Australian households as to why they had installed a water tank was to save water (42%) followed by that they were not connected to mains or town water (27%).
  • Nearly a third (30%) of households who owned their dwelling had a water tank installed, compared with only 13% of rented dwellings. A quarter of family households had a water tank installed compared with only 13% of group households.
  • Of the 3.9 million Australian households that did not have a rainwater tank installed (and whose dwelling was suitable for a water tank and who are home owners or purchasers), 61% had considered installing one. Queensland and the Australian Capital Territory had the highest proportions (69% and 66% respectively).
  • Of the 2.4 million households who had considered installing a water tank, the most common reason reported that prevented installing a water tank was cost (48%). No time or haven't got around to it was the next most common reason reported (28%).
  • 76,000 households had ordered a rainwater tank but were awaiting delivery and installation, 35,300 were from Queensland.


Water conservation inside the dwelling
  • The majority of Australian households reported undertaking water saving activities inside their dwelling; 67% saved water in the bathroom, 64% in the laundry, 50% in the kitchen and 40% in the toilet.
  • One quarter of Australian households reported collecting grey water in the laundry, 19% in the bathroom and 13% in the kitchen. Victoria had the highest proportion of households who reported collecting grey water; 42% in the laundry, 39% in the bathroom, and 26% in the kitchen.
  • One in ten of Australian households used grey water in the laundry but only 2% of Australian households used grey water to flush the toilet.
  • More than half (55%) of households had at least one water-efficient shower head installed in their dwelling.
  • Almost three-quarters (74%) of dwellings which were less than one year old had water-efficient shower heads only, compared to 46% of dwellings more than 30 years old.
  • In June 1994, only 39% of households had a dual-flush toilet. By March 2007, 81% of households reported that they had at least one dual-flush toilet.


Water use and conservation in the garden and outside
  • In March 2007, more than four out of five Australian households had their own garden (83% or 6.7 million). The proportion of households without their own garden has risen from 13% in 1994 to 17% in 2007. In New South Wales, 24% of households did not have their own garden, an increase from 19% in 1994.
  • The most common methods reported by Australian households for watering the garden were hand watering with a bucket or watering can (32%) and hand watering with a normal hose (23%). In Victoria, 49% of households hand watered with a bucket or watering can.
  • More than a quarter (26%) of households with a garden do not water or relied on rainfall only. In Brisbane, nearly half (48%) of households do not water or relied on rainfall.
  • Households in the Australian Capital Territory (78%), South Australia (78%) and Victoria (76%) were most likely to have reported taking steps to save water in the garden. For the whole of Australia, 71% of households reported taking steps to save water in the garden.
  • Of households that paid all of their water costs, nearly three-quarters (74%) reported saving water in the garden whereas only 59% of households saved water in the garden where the landlord or someone else paid for the water costs.
  • Almost two-thirds of households took steps to save water outside (other than in the garden). The most common step taken was to not wash the car or wash the car less often.

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