Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2008-09 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/04/2010   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product

AGRICULTURAL WATER USE

The agriculture industry remained a major consumer of water in the Australian economy in 2008-09.

The volume of water used for irrigation, and application rates, rose slightly in 2008-09, the first increase since 2005-06.

Australia's total agricultural water use in 2008-09 rose 4% to 7,286 gigalitres, driven by increased water use in New South Wales (up 14%) and Queensland (up 13%).

However, compared to 2005-06, total agricultural water use in 2008-09 was down in almost every state, particularly New South Wales (down 56%) and Victoria (down 49%).


IRRIGATION WATER USE

Of the 409.0 million hectares of agricultural land in Australia in 2008-09, less than 1% were irrigated. However, 29% of all agricultural businesses undertook irrigation during 2008-09.

The amount of irrigation water used by Australia's 40 thousand irrigating agricultural businesses increased 3% to 6,501 gigalitres in 2008-09. Water use increased 14% in New South Wales and 12% in Queensland, with these increases partly offset by a decline in Victoria, down 10%, Western Australia, down 21%, and South Australia, down 6%.

Queensland continued to be the largest irrigating state, using 2,058 gigalitres of water for irrigation in 2008-09. Western Australia had the highest application rate at 4.7 ML/ha of irrigated land.

Nationally, the application rate increased to 3.7 ML/ha from 3.4 ML/ha in 2007-08. The application rate had been declining since 2002-03, with the exception of 2005-06 where the rate remained steady at 4.2 ML/ha.

Of the states and territories, Victoria and New South Wales had the greatest number of irrigating agricultural businesses in 2008-09, accounting for 51% of all of Australia's irrigating businesses. Tasmania had the highest proportion of irrigated agricultural land (5%) and the highest proportion of irrigators (49%).

The area of irrigated agricultural land decreased in most states/territories with the exception of Queensland (up 7%) and the Northern Territory (up 25%). The largest decrease in the area irrigated was in Victoria, down 13% to 371 thousand hectares.

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 by 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%.


Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.