1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, Jun 2010  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 23/06/2010   
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Water Use on Australian Farms

A Socio-Economic Context for the Murray-Darling Basin


Released on 19 April 2010, Water Use on Australian Farms, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4618.0) presents a range of information relating to irrigation practices on Australian farms. This includes data on the type and area of crops irrigated, the volume of water applied, and irrigation methods. Data are available at the Australia, State and Natural Resource Management region levels as well as for the Murray Darling Basin. The publication also includes estimates for 2003-04 to 2008-09. The data are based on a response rate of 88% from a sample of approximately 38,000 agricultural businesses selected for the 2008-09 Agricultural Survey.

Key data from this publication include:

  • In 2008-09 the Murray-Darling Basin (MDB) accounted for 38% of Australia's irrigating agricultural businesses, 53% of all irrigated agricultural land, and 54% of irrigation water applied.
  • Increases in volumes of irrigation water applied in 2008-09 were recorded in the northern reaches of the MDB, with Queensland MDB up 64% and New South Wales MDB up 17%. The southern parts of the MDB however, recorded decreases in volumes of irrigation water applied in 2008-09, with Victoria MDB down 15%, and South Australia MDB down 6%.
  • In 2008-09, water supplied by government or private irrigation schemes was the major source of water for agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin, accounting for 42% of agricultural water sourced in the region. Groundwater supplied 28% of the total volume, while surface water also supplied 28%. Outside the Murray-Darling Basin, ground water was the major source of water for agriculture (40%).


Released in September 2009, this report provides a comprehensive analysis of the socio-economic circumstances of people living and working in the Murray-Darling Basin. The report was prepared by the Australian Bureau of Statistics, with input from the Australian Bureau of Agricultural and Resource Economics and the Bureau of Rural Sciences. It makes use of the best available regional data to describe the social and economic circumstances of people in the Basin.

The report can be found on the web site of the Murray Darling Basin Authority.