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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2007-08 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/05/2009   
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IRRIGATION WATER USE

In 2007-08, the amount of irrigation water used by Australia's 40 thousand irrigating agricultural businesses decreased 18% to 6,285 gigalitres. Of the 1,351 gigalitre decrease, New South Wales contributed 928 gigalitres, over two thirds of the decrease.

All states/territories reported decreased irrigation water use except Queensland, which remained steady. As a result, Queensland became the largest irrigating state, using 1,843 gigalitres for irrigation in 2007-08.

There were 2 thousand less irrigating agricultural businesses in Australia in 2007-08 than in 2006-07. Nationally, 72 thousand hectares less land was irrigated at a decreased application rate of 3.4 ML/ha.

1.2 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, by State - 2003-04 to 2007-08

Agricultural businesses
Agricultural businesses irrigating
Area of agricultural holding
Area irrigated
Volume applied
Application rate
no.
no.
ha
ha
ML
ML/ha

TOTAL
Old basis(a)
2003-04
130 526
40 400
440 109 578
2 402 137
10 441 515
4.3
2004-05
129 934
35 244
445 148 804
2 404 864
10 084 596
4.2
New basis(b)
2005-06
154 681
44 826
434 924 814
2 546 318
10 737 364
4.2
2006-07
150 817
41 787
425 449 341
1 922 982
7 636 194
4.0
2007-08(c)
140 704
39 637
417 287 562
1 850 937
6 284 799
3.4
2007-08
New basis(b)
New South Wales(d)
44 521
8 974
58 154 425
525 021
1 677 083
3.2
Victoria
34 177
10 309
12 535 698
427 584
1 332 045
3.1
Queensland
29 121
9 047
141 057 855
512 774
1 842 729
3.6
South Australia
14 996
6 114
47 075 615
225 716
880 268
3.9
Western Australia
13 084
2 720
93 034 706
63 364
284 878
4.5
Tasmania
4 200
2 185
1 541 487
91 538
252 113
2.8
Northern Territory
605
288
^63 887 775
^4 940
^15 683
^3.2

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
(a) Derived using ABS-maintained frame. Refer to Explanatory Notes paragraph 9.
(b) Derived using ABSBR. Refer to Explanatory Notes paragraph 9.
(c) Totals include other pastures or crops not elsewhere classified.
(d) Includes ACT.


Victoria had the greatest number of irrigating agricultural businesses of the states/territories and accounted for 26% of Australia's irrigating businesses. Tasmania had the highest proportion of irrigators (52%) and irrigated agricultural land (6%) in 2007-08.

The area of irrigated agricultural land increased in most states/territories with exception of New South Wales, Victoria and the Northern Territory. These states/territories also recorded the largest drops in the volume of irrigation water applied from 2006-07 to 2007-08 (36%, 19% and 21% respectively).

Of Australia's irrigated agricultural land, 34% (624 thousand hectares) was irrigated by agricultural businesses with an area of holding of 100<500 hectares, and only 3% (54 thousand hectares) by businesses with up to 15 hectares. Only 92 businesses with 25 thousand hectares or more, irrigated their land, and of this, less than 1% of the area of holding was irrigated.

1.3 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, Australia - by Area of holding - 2007-08

Agricultural businesses
Agricultural businesses irrigating
Area of agricultural holding
Area irrigated
Volume applied
Application rate
no.
no.
ha
ha
ML
ML/ha

Area of holding (ha)
Total
140 704
39 637
417 287 562
1 850 937
6 284 799
3.4
<15
14 689
9 293
96 293
53 880
191 206
3.5
15<50
20 665
7 987
647 193
106 562
388 867
3.6
50<100
17 118
5 518
1 224 722
139 691
449 582
3.2
100<500
43 117
11 135
10 516 260
623 840
2 071 248
3.3
500<1,000
15 445
2 628
10 867 143
269 329
865 735
3.2
1,000<2,500
15 836
1 781
24 459 540
261 922
877 822
3.4
2,500<25,000
11 749
1 202
78 792 106
340 742
1 192 575
3.5
25,000>
2 085
^92
290 684 306
54 970
247 763
4.5

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution


The Murray-Darling Basin accounted for 39% of Australia's irrigating agricultural businesses, 52% of all irrigated agricultural land and 50% of irrigation water applied in 2007-08.

The Queensland MDB region was the only MDB region to increase its volume of irrigation water applied in 2007-08 (up 34%). The region also irrigated 61% more agricultural land than in 2006-07, irrigating only 7% less land than in 2005-06.

1.4 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, Murray-Darling Basin(a) - 2007-08

Agricultural businesses
Agricultural businesses irrigating
Area of agricultural holding
Area irrigated
Volume applied
Application rate
no.
no.
ha
ha
ML
ML/ha

MDB in NSW
27 438
4 808
53 662 089
449 690
1 483 874
3.3
MDB in Vic.
17 408
6 846
8 336 251
298 578
937 927
3.1
MDB in Qld
7 472
1 506
29 198 463
136 656
405 615
3.0
MDB in SA
4 269
2 320
4 364 951
72 828
314 243
4.3
MDB
56 586
15 479
95 561 754
957 752
3 141 659
3.3
non MDB
84 118
24 158
321 725 808
893 185
3 143 140
3.5
Australia
140 704
39 637
417 287 562
1 850 937
6 284 799
3.4

(a) Based on NRM regions. Refer to Explanatory Notes paragraph 14.



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