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4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2004-05  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 28/11/2006   
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MEDIA RELEASE

November 28, 2006
Embargoed: 11:30 AM (AEDT)
112/2006
Drought drives down water consumption

Water consumption in Australia decreased by nearly 3,000 Gigalitres (GL), or 14%, between 2000-01 and 2004-05, largely due to drought, according to Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) figures released today.

In 2004-05, water consumption in the Australian economy was 18,767 GL, with the agriculture industry consuming almost two-thirds (12,191 GL or 65%), households 11% (2,108 GL), water supply industry 11% (2,083 GL), manufacturing 3% (589 GL), mining 2% (413 GL) and electricity and gas 1% (271 GL).

Of the 12,191 GL of water consumed by agriculture in 2004-05, dairy farming accounted for 18% (2,276 GL), pasture 16% (1,928 GL), cotton 15% (1,822 GL) and sugar 10% (1,269 GL).

Consumption by agriculture in 2004-05 was down 23% from 2000-01 when it was 14,989 GL. Large falls in water consumption were in rice (from 2,223 GL to 631 GL) and cotton (from 2,896 GL to 1,822 GL), due mainly to smaller planted areas for these crops in 2004-05 compared to 2000-01. The gross value of irrigated agricultural production in Australia in 2004-05 was $9.1 billion, down 5% from 2000-01 when it was $9.6 billion. The gross value of irrigated agricultural production represented around a quarter (23%) of the gross value of agricultural commodities produced in 2004-05, on less than 1% of agricultural land.

Australian household consumption of 2,108 GL was a decrease of 8% from 2000-01 when households consumed 2,278 GL. Household per capita water consumption was also down from 120 kL in 2000-01 to 103 kL in 2004-05. In 2004 around 16% of households reused or recycled water, an increase from 2001 when it was 11%.

The amount of water consumed by the mining industry in 2004-05 was 29% more than in 2000-01 and this rise is associated with increased levels of mining activity, particularly in Western Australia. There was also a 7% increase from 2000-01 in the manufacturing industry, with the largest increase in metal product manufacturing.

The supply of reuse water by the water supply industry was down from 507 GL in 2000-01 to 425 GL in 2004-05. This was mainly due to lower reuse water availability from irrigation scheme drainage. This is reflected in a 34% drop in the use of reuse water by agriculture from 423 GL in 2000-01 to 280 GL in 2004-05. The use of reused water by households increased 10-fold from 167 to 1,767 ML between 2000-01 and 2004-05. In the same time manufacturing (7 to 13 GL) and mining (5 to 7 GL) industries also increased their use of reuse water.

Australia's large dams had a capacity of 83,853 GL, and at 30 June 2005 these were less than half full (39,959 GL or 48% of capacity).

The Water Account was partly funded by the National Water Commission and forms parts of the Australian Water Resources 2005 (AWR 2005) project. Further details are in Water Account Australia 2004-05 (cat. no. 4610.0).

Media note:
1 Gigalitre (GL) = one thousand million litres; 1 Megalitre (ML) = one million litres; 1 Kilolitre (kL) = one thousand litres

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STATE FACT SHEETS

Water Account Australia 2004-05
New South Wales
  • Water consumption for New South Wales was higher than any other State or Territory in 2004-05, amounting to 5,922 GL or 32% of total water consumption in Australia. However this has decreased from 2000-01, where water consumption was 8,783 GL for NSW and ACT combined, a decrease of 32%.
  • The agriculture industry consumed 4,133 GL or 70% of the total volume consumed for NSW, although this has also decreased by 39% from 2000-01 when the agriculture industry consumed 6,795 GL. The largest use of water in the agriculture industry was for cotton, which consumed 964 GL or 23% of total agricultural water use. This was followed by grains (838 GL or 20%) and pasture (other than for dairy) (694 GL or 17%).
  • The gross value of irrigated agriculture in NSW in 2004-05 was $1,864 million or 21% of the Australian total.
  • Household consumption of water was 573 GL in 2004-05, or 10% of total water consumption. Household water consumption in NSW and ACT combined decreased by 10% between 2000-01 and 2004-05.
  • Household water use per capita was 84 KL, the second lowest of all States and Territories, and a decrease from 97 KL per capita in 2000-01.
  • The water supply industry supplied 3,112 GL of distributed water in 2004-05. The largest users of distributed water were the agriculture industry (1,584 GL or 51%), households (545 GL or 18%) manufacturing (104 GL or 3%) and other industries (139 GL or 4%).
  • The water supply industry was also a significant user of water, consuming 631 GL or 11% of total consumption. Water losses constituted the majority of this, and amounted to 614 GL or 20% of distributed water supply for the State.
  • The use of reuse water was higher in NSW than any other State or Territory in 2004-05 at 194 GL. However this represents a decrease of 27% from 2000-01 where the use of reuse water was 267 GL for NSW and ACT combined.
  • Most of the decrease in the use of reuse water was due to a decline in the agriculture industry from 240 GL in 2000-01 to 160 GL in 2004-05.
  • There were increases in the use of reuse water by mining (6,098 ML), manufacturing (169 ML) and households (1,767 ML). NSW was the only state in Australia which reported the use of reuse water by households.
  • The manufacturing industry consumed 126 GL of water, an increase of 11% since 2000-01. The largest use within the manufacturing industry was for food, beverage and tobacco (49 GL) followed by the metal products (22 GL) and wood and paper products (20 GL).
  • The mining industry consumed 63 GL of water in 2004-05, an increase of 2% since 2000-01. The largest use within the mining industry was for coal mining (39 GL or 62%).
  • The electricity and gas industry used a total of 10,790 GL of water, however most of this was used in-stream by hydro-electricity generators and is not included in the water consumption total for the State. Water consumption was therefore 75 GL or 1% of total consumption, an increase from 59 GL in 2000-01.
  • The water stored in large dams in NSW at 30 June 2005 was 8,200 GL, or 33% of total capacity.
  • There were 118,110 water access entitlements in NSW with a total entitlement volume of 13,302 GL.
  • There were 164 permanent water trades within NSW with a total volume of 41 GL. In addition there were 2,042 temporary trades involving 383 GL of water.
  • NSW received the largest volume of water temporarily traded interstate with 38 GL or 46%. 28 GL was temporarily traded out of NSW.
Water Account Australia 2004-05
Victoria
  • Water consumption in Victoria was 4,993 GL in 2004-05, the second highest volume in Australia. This represents a decrease of 7% from 2000-01 when water consumption was 5,375 GL.
  • The industry with the highest water consumption was the agriculture industry with 3,281 GL or 66% of total water consumption. This is a decrease from 3,580 GL (8%) in 2000-01.
  • The largest water use within the agriculture industry was for dairy farming with 1,710 GL or 52% of total agricultural water use, followed by pastures (other than for dairy) with 622 GL or 19%, and grapes with 320 GL or 10%.
  • The gross value of irrigated agricultural production in Victoria was the highest of all the States and Territories at $2,677 million in 2004-05.
  • Household water consumption for Victoria was 405 GL or 8% of the State's water consumption. This has decreased from 464 GL in 2000-01.
  • Household water consumption per capita and per household was lower in Victoria than any other State or Territory at 81 KL per capita and 209 KL per household, a decrease of 17% since 2000-01. As of March 2004, 16% of households in Victoria had rainwater tanks.
  • The water supply industry supplied 4,004 GL of distributed water, the largest volume in Australia. Irrigation/rural water providers supplied 2,810 GL or 70% of this volume. Distribution water losses were also higher in Victoria than any other State or Territory, at 774 GL or 19% of total supply. The majority of losses were from Irrigation/rural water suppliers (663 GL).
  • Approximately 130 GL of reuse water was used in Victoria, however this has decreased from 187 GL in 2000-01. Most of the decrease is due to a decrease in use of reuse water by the agriculture industry, from 165 GL in 2000-01 to 87 GL in 2004-05. The highest use of reuse water within agriculture was for dairy which used 76 GL.
  • An increase in the use of reuse water was recorded by the water supply industry who use 15GL and other industries (22GL), which includes parks, gardens and sports fields. No reuse water was reported as used by households.
  • The manufacturing industry was a significant user of water, consuming 114 GL or 2% of total water consumption, a small increase from 104 GL in 2000-01. The food, beverage and tobacco industry (37 GL) and the wood and paper products industry (35 GL) were the largest users of water within manufacturing.
  • The mining industry used 32 GL of water mostly for coal mining (24 GL).
  • The electricity and gas supply industry consumed 99 GL of water, mostly in coal-fired power stations. Almost 6,000 GL of water was used for hydro-electricity generation, however this was considered in-stream use and was not included in the water consumption total for the State.
  • At 30 June 2005 there were 4,729 GL of water stored in large dams in Victoria, which was 39% of the total capacity.
  • There were 25,514 water access entitlements in Victoria in 2004-05, with an entitlement volume of 6,680 GL.
  • The highest number of permanent and temporary water trades were conducted in Victoria (702 and 9,323 respectively). Victoria also had the highest volume of water temporarily traded in Australia with 444 GL.
  • All water permanently traded interstate originated from Victoria (46 ML) and the largest volume of water temporarily traded also originated from Victoria (28.3 GL or 35%). Victoria did not receive any water through trades with other states.

Water Account Australia 2004-05
Queensland

  • Water consumption in Queensland was 4,361 GL in 2004-05, the third highest volume in Australia. This represents a 2% increase since 2000-01 when water consumption was 4,267 GL.
  • The agriculture industry consumed 2,916 GL or 67% of total consumption, also a 2% increase from 2,853 GL in 2000-01.
  • The single largest use of water in Queensland was for sugar, consuming 1,116 GL or 26% of total water consumption. This was followed by cotton with 857 GL or 20%.
  • The gross value of irrigated agriculture was $2,349 million in 2004-05.
  • Households consumed 493 GL of water in 2004-05 which made up 11% of total water consumption. This has decreased by 5% since 2000-01 when household water consumption was 519 GL.
  • Household water consumption per capita was 124 KL in 2004-05, a decrease from 143 KL per capita in 2000-01 although still above the Australian average of 103 KL per capita. Consumption per household was also above the Australian average at 323 KL.
  • 200 water providers supplied 2,652 GL of distributed water in 2004-05, 58% of which was supplied by irrigation/rural water providers. Distribution water losses amounted to 414 GL or 16% of total supply.
  • 52 GL of reuse water was used in 2004-05, an increase from 24 GL in 2000-01. The use of reuse water by agriculture increased from 4.8 GL to 12.3 GL, mining from 0 GL to 1.1 GL, manufacturing from 4.7 GL to 8.6 GL and other industries from 11 GL to 18 GL. No reuse water was used by households.
  • The mining and manufacturing industries also used significant amounts of water with 83 GL and 158 GL respectively, both increasing since 2000-01.
  • The largest use of water within the mining industry was for coal mining, consuming 44 GL. Within manufacturing, the largest uses were for food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (88 GL) and metal product manufacturing (35 GL).
  • The electricity and gas industry consumed 81 GL of water in 2004-05, mostly in coal-fired power stations. Hydro-electricity generators used 3,217 GL, however this considered in-stream use and is not included in the water consumption total for the State.
  • As at 30 June 2005 there were 5,309 GL of water stored in Queensland's large dams, which represented 52% of total capacity.
  • There were 48,591 water access entitlements in Queensland in 2004-05 with an entitlement volume of 4,397 GL.
  • There were 168 permanent water trades, and 1,874 temporary trades in Queensland, involving 20 GL and 194 GL of water respectively. Queensland did not trade any water with other States or Territories.

Water Account Australia 2004-05
South Australia

  • South Australia consumed 1,365 GL of water in 2004-05, a slight decrease since 2000-01 when water consumption was 1,383 GL.
  • Agriculture consumed 1,020 GL or 75% of total water consumption for the State. The largest use of water within the agriculture industry was for water applied to pasture (other than for dairy) which consumed 337 GL or 33% of the total for the agriculture industry. This was followed by grapes (204 GL or 20%) and fruit (144 GL or 14%).
  • The gross value of irrigated agriculture in 2004-05 was $1,284 million.
  • Household water consumption in South Australia has decreased by 13% from 166 GL in 2000-01 to 144 GL in 2004-05. Water consumption per capita has also decreased from 110 KL to 94 KL, which is below the Australia average of 103 KL per capita. Water consumption per household was 244 KL in 2004-05.
  • South Australia has the highest proportion of rainwater tanks in Australia with 48% of households having tanks in March 2004.
  • 15 water providers supplied 461 GL of distributed water in South Australia in 2004-05. Distribution water losses amounted to 71 GL or 15% of total distributed water supply.
  • The use of reuse water has increased from 18 GL in 2000-01 to 22 GL in 2004-05. The most reuse water was used for vegetables (15 GL) and smaller amounts were used for grapes, manufacturing and electricity generation.
  • The manufacturing industry is also a significant user of water, consuming 55 GL or 4% of the State's total. The largest users within manufacturing were the metal products manufacturing industry (33 GL) and the food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing industry (13 GL).
  • The mining industry consumed 19 GL of water, largely for metal ore mining (13 GL).
  • The electricity and gas industry consumed 2,542 ML, of which 1,058 ML was used to generate electricity from gas, and 830 ML was used to generate electricity from coal.
  • At 30 June 2005 there were 116 GL of water stored in South Australia's large dams, which was 45% of the total capacity.
  • There were 10,399 water access entitlements in South Australia in 2004-05 with a total entitlement volume of 1,661 GL.
  • There were 364 permanent and 314 temporary water trades within South Australia, involving volumes of 33 GL and 50 GL respectively.
  • South Australia received 4.8 GL of water traded permanently interstate from Victoria.

Water Account Australia 2004-05
Western Australia
  • Water consumption in Western Australia was 1,495 GL in 2004-05. This is an increase of 10% since 2000-01 when water consumption was 1,353 GL.
  • The agriculture industry consumed 535 GL of water or 36% of total water consumption. This has increased by 13% since 2000-01.
  • The largest uses of water within the agriculture industry were for livestock (156 GL), sugar (152 GL), dairy farming (54 GL) and vegetables (52 GL).
  • The gross value of irrigated agriculture was $545 million in 2004-05.
  • Households consumed 362 GL of water or 24% of total water consumption in 2004-05, similar to 2000-01 (363 GL).
  • Household water consumption per capita was the highest of any State or Territory at 180 KL per person, and well above the Australia average of 103 KL per person. Consumption per household was also the highest in Australia at 468 KL.
  • Western Australia used the largest amount of self-extracted water for households in Australia with 38% (136 GL) of household water use coming from a self-extracted source (mostly garden bores). As of March 2004, 12% of Western Australian households had rainwater tanks.
  • 21 water providers supplied 736 GL of distributed water in Western Australia in 2004-05. Western Australia had the highest amount of distributed water originating from a groundwater source of all States and Territories, with 229 GL or 32% of total distributed supply originating from groundwater in WA. In addition, 85 ML of desalinated water was supplied.
  • Distribution water losses were 123 GL or 17% of total distributed supply.
  • The use of reuse water increased from 9 GL in 2000-01 to 17.5 GL in 2004-05. The use of reuse water in manufacturing increased substantially ( 467 ML to 3,102 ML), while reuse water use in agriculture decreased (156 ML to 54 ML).
  • There was a significant increase in the amount of water consumed by the mining industry from 114 GL in 2000-01 to 183 GL in 2004-05. This was largely due to an increase in water use by the metal ore mining industry which consumed 139 GL. The Western Australia mining industry consumed 44% of the water used for mining in Australia.
  • The manufacturing industry consumed 81 GL of water. The largest use of water within this industry was for metal product manufacturing (38 GL).
  • 1,836 GL of water were used for hydro-electricity generation, however this is considered in-stream use and is not included in the water consumption total for the state. The electricity and gas industry only consumed 13 GL of water in 2004-05.
  • At 30 June 2005 there were 10,135 GL of water stored in large dams in Western Australia, representing 83% of total capacity.
  • There were 17,513 water access entitlements in 2004-05, with an entitlement volume of 2,547 GL.


Water Account Australia 2004-05
Tasmania

  • Water consumption in Tasmania was 434 GL in 2004-05, an increase of 6% from 2000-01 when water consumption was 408 GL.
  • Most of the water was used by the agriculture industry, which consumed 258 GL or 59% of water consumption in the State. This represents a 14% increase since 2000-01 when water consumption for the agriculture industry was 226 GL. Dairy farming consumed 85 GL, followed by pastures (other than for dairy) (63 GL), and vegetables (52 GL). A high proportion (94%) of the water used for agriculture was from a self-extracted source.
  • The gross value of irrigated agricultural production was $304 million in 2004-05.
  • Tasmania was the only State where household water consumption increased between 2000-01 and 2004-05. Household water consumption in 2004-5 was 69 GL, an increase of 17% from 59 GL in 2000-01.
  • Household water consumption was 143 KL per capita, an increase from 126 KL per capita in 2000-01, and above the Australia average of 103 KL per capita. Consumption per household also increased to 372 KL.
  • Tasmania had the second highest proportion of rainwater tanks in Australia with 19.6% of households having tanks in March 2004.
  • The manufacturing industry was a significant user of water in Tasmania, consuming 49 GL in 2004-05, 35 GL of which was used for wood and paper product manufacturing.
  • Water use by the electricity and gas industry was highest of any State or Territory at 38,279 GL, however most of this was used for hydro-electricity generation which is considered in-stream use and is not included in the water consumption total for the State. Actual water consumption by this industry was 102 ML.
  • The forestry and fishing industry in Tasmania used 85% (364 GL) of the total water used by this industry in Australia. However most of this water was used in-stream for aquaculture purposes, and therefore water consumption for this industry was 3.5 GL.
  • In 2004-05, 33 water providers supplied 229 GL of distributed water, 119 GL of which was for environmental purposes. Distribution water losses were 15 GL or 7% of distributed water supply.
  • The use of reuse water increased from 1.5 GL in 2000-01 to 4.8 GL in 2004-05. This is mostly due to an increase in use by the agriculture industry from 650 ML to 1,904 ML.
  • At 30 June 2005 there were 11,191 GL of water stored in Tasmania's large dams, which was 47% of total capacity.
  • There were 3,110 water access entitlements in Tasmania in 2004-05 with a total entitlement volume of 1,038 GL.
  • There were 232 permanent and 111 temporary water trades within Tasmania, involving volumes of 38 GL and 5.6 GL of water respectively.

Water Account Australia 2004-05
Northern Territory

  • Water consumption in the Northern Territory was 141 GL in 2004-05, an increase of 5% from 2000-01 when water consumption was 134 GL.
  • The agriculture industry consumed 47 GL (33%) of water in the Northern Territory, the majority of which was used for livestock (32 GL), fruit (7.4 GL) and grapes (2.8 GL).
  • In 2004-05, household water consumption accounted for 31 GL or 22% of total water consumption in the NT. Per capita and per household consumption has decreased since 2000-01, but was the second highest in Australia (153 kL/capita and 399 kL/household).
  • There was a low incidence of rainwater tanks in the Territory (around 2,900 rainwater tanks), with only 5% of households having a rainwater tank in March 2004.
  • The mining industry consumed 17.4 GL or 12% of total water consumption, 17 GL of which was used for metal ore mining.
  • The manufacturing industry consumed 6.3 GL of water, of which the metal products manufacturing industry consumed 5.7 GL.
  • There were 3 water providers in the Territory that supplied 66 GL of distributed water. Distribution water losses accounted for 7.8 GL or 12% of total distributed supply in the NT.
  • The use of reuse water was 1.8 GL and was used for pasture, forestry and fishing and other industries (including parks, gardens and sports fields).
  • At 30 June 2005 there were 196 GL of water stored in large dams in the Northern Territory, which represented 70% of total capacity.
  • There were 166 water access entitlements in 2004-05 with an entitlement volume of 140 GL.

Water Account Australia 2004-05
Australian Capital Territory
  • The Australian Capital Territory consumed 56 GL of water in 2004-05.
  • The majority of water was used by households which consumed 31 GL or 56% of total water consumption in the ACT.
  • Household water consumption per capita and per household was among the lowest in Australia at 95 KL and 248 KL respectively. These measures have decreased from 115 KL per capita and 298 KL per household in 2000-01.
  • There was a very low incidence of rainwater tanks in the Australian Capital Territory, with only 3.2% of households having a rainwater tank in March 2004, the lowest rate in Australia.
  • Other industries consumed 17 GL or 31% of total consumption. Other industries include industries such as wholesale and retail trade, accommodation, cafe's and restaurants, finance, property and business services, government administration and defence, education, health, culture and recreation, and other services.
  • A small amount of water (1.2 GL) was used for agriculture, all from a self-extracted source.
  • Manufacturing in the ACT used 639 ML, the largest component of which was for food, beverage and tobacco manufacturing (196 ML).
  • There was only one water provider in the ACT who supplied 77 GL of distributed water. System water losses were the lowest of any State or Territory at 3.6 GL or 5% of distributed supply.
  • Approximately 30 GL of distributed water was supplied for environmental purposes (environmental flows).
  • 2,189 ML of reuse water was used in the ACT in 2004-05 by the water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry and other industries.
  • At 30 June 2005, there were 82 GL of water was stored in large dams in the ACT, which represented 68% of total capacity.
  • There were 153 water access entitlements in 2004-05 with an entitlement volume of 66 GL.

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