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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2005-06  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/03/2008   
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NOTES

12/09/2008: Data from the 2005-06 Agricultural Census in these datacubes supplement that released in Water Use on Australian Farms 2005–06 on the 13th March 2008. The additional datacubes present data at finer geographies than those previously published. A summary of water sources, irrigation and other agricultural water use is presented for Statistical Local Areas, Local Government Areas, Statistical Divisions and Sub-Divisions, Capital City Water Supply Areas, Drainage Divisions and River Basins (including Murray-Darling Basin), Ground Water Provinces, Natural Resource Management regions, and the Interim Biogeographical Regionalisation of Australia.

28/03/2008: Additional Material Data Cubes - Data in these tables supplements that released in Water Use on Australian Farms 2005–06 on 13th March 2008. The additional datacubes present data at finer geographies than those previously published. A summary of irrigation water use is presented for Statistical Local Areas and River Basins. Data on major pastures and crops irrigated is presented for Statistical Divisions and Natural Resource Management regions, as well as for the Murray-Darling Basin by state.

BACKGROUND

The agriculture industry is a major consumer of water in the Australian economy. The Water Account, Australia 2004-05 (cat. no. 4610.0) showed agriculture to account for 65% of all water consumed in 2004-05.

This publication presents final estimates of agricultural water use, pastures and crops irrigated, and sources of water used for agriculture at a national, state/territory and regional level, with the Murray-Darling Basin treated as a distinct geographical region for the first time. This issue updates and expands on data released in Water Use on Australian Farms Preliminary (4618.0) on 14 August 2007. The estimates are compiled from data collected as part of the Agricultural Census for the year ended 30 June 2006. Estimates for 2002-03, 2003-04 and 2004-05 are also included in this publication.

Climatic conditions affect both the availability of water for irrigation and the need to irrigate in order to supplement rainfall. Information from the Bureau of Meteorology outlining climatic conditions over key agricultural areas between July 2005 and June 2006 are presented as an appendix.


CHANGES IN THIS ISSUE

New geographies

For the first time, estimates are presented for key irrigated pastures and crops for the Murray-Darling Basin. Irrigation data are also presented for Drainage Divisions and Natural Resource Management Regions.


ACKNOWLEDGEMENTS

The provision of estimates for a range of regions is made possible by funding provided by the National Water Commission through Raising National Water Standards, and through natural resource management programs administered by the Departments of Agriculture, Fisheries and Forestry and Environment, Water, Heritage and the Arts.


INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


SUMMARY OF AGRICULTURAL WATER USE

Australia

In 2005-06, Australian agricultural businesses used 11,689 gigalitres of water for agricultural production. Of this, 10,737 gigalitres (91.9%) was used for the irrigation of pastures and crops, and 951 gigalitres (8.1%) used for other agricultural purposes such as stock watering and the cleaning of dairies and piggeries.

1.1 AGRICULTURAL WATER USE, By State - 2005-06

WATER USE
Agricultural businesses
Irrigation
Other agricultural uses
Total water use
no.
ML
ML
ML

NSW
48 838
4 533 324
261 925
4 795 250
Vic.
37 146
2 448 485
192 653
2 641 138
Qld
32 212
2 325 003
255 633
2 580 636
SA
16 455
897 197
78 378
975 575
WA
14 526
306 284
121 241
427 525
Tas.
4 745
203 931
25 789
229 720
NT
659
22 356
15 369
37 724
ACT
99
^784
439
^1 224
Aust.
154 681
10 737 364
951 428
11 688 792

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



State/territory

Agricultural businesses in New South Wales used 4,795 gigalitres of water for all agricultural purposes (41.1% of the national total). Victoria with 2,641 gigalitres (22.6% of the national total), and Queensland with 2,581 gigalitres (22.1% of the national total) were the next highest users of water for agricultural purposes.

Irrigation was the major use of water for agricultural purposes in all states/territories, accounting for 94.5% of all water used for agricultural purposes in NSW (4,533 gigalitres), 92.7% of water used for agricultural purposes in Victoria (2,448 gigalitres), and 90.0% of water used for agricultural purposes in Queensland (2,325 gigalitres).

Water use for other agricultural purposes such as stock watering and the cleaning of dairies and piggeries accounted for a larger proportion of total water used for agricultural purposes in the Northern Territory (40.7%) and Western Australia (28.4%).


IRRIGATION WATER USE

Australia

Nationally, 29.0% of agricultural businesses (44,826) reported using water for irrigation. Across Australia, 2,546,000 hectares of agricultural land was irrigated at an average application rate of 4.2 ML/ha, which was the same rate as 2004-05.

1.2 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, By State - 2002-03 to 2005-06

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

AUSTRALIA
Old basis(a)
2002-03
132 983
43 774
439 531
2 378
10 403 759
4.4
2003-04
130 526
40 400
440 110
2 402
10 441 515
4.3
2004-05
129 934
35 244
445 149
2 405
10 084 596
4.2
New basis(b)
2005-06
154 681
44 826
434 925
2 546
10 737 364
4.2
2005-06
New basis(b)
NSW
48 838
11 587
62 119
994
4 533 325
4.6
Vic.
37 146
11 621
12 314
648
2 448 485
3.8
Qld
32 212
9 861
145 519
539
2 325 003
4.3
SA
16 455
6 298
55 408
217
897 197
4.1
WA
14 526
3 173
98 653
60
306 284
5.1
Tas.
4 745
1 919
1 739
81
203 931
2.5
NT
659
351
59 127
7
22 356
3.1
ACT
99
17
45
^ -
^784
^3.1

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
(a) Derived using old ABS-maintained frame. See Technical Note for detail.
(b) Derived using new ABR-based frame. See Technical Note for detail.



State/territory

Victoria had the largest number of agricultural businesses irrigating (11,621 or 25.9% of the national total), followed by NSW (11,587 or 25.8% of the national total) and Queensland (9,861 or 22.0% of the national total). The Northern Territory had the highest proportion of agricultural businesses irrigating (53.3% of agricultural businesses in the territory), followed by Tasmania with 40.4%.

Agricultural businesses in New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland continued to be the major users of water for irrigation nationally, accounting for 86.7% (9,307 gigalitres) of all water used for irrigation purposes. New South Wales used 42.2% (4,533 gigalitres), followed by Victoria, 22.8% (2,448 gigalitres) and Queensland, 21.7% (2,325 gigalitres).

Western Australia had the highest application rate of irrigation water (5.1 ML/ha), followed by New South Wales (4.6 ML/ha) and Queensland (4.3 ML/ha). Tasmania had the lowest application rate at 2.5 ML/ha.

In New South Wales, 994,000 hectares, or 1.6% of agricultural land in the state was irrigated. This represents 39.0% of irrigated agricultural land nationally. In Victoria, 648,000 hectares, or 5.2% of agricultural land in the state was irrigated. This represents 25.5% of irrigated agricultural land nationally.


Murray-Darling Basin

Nationally, 41.6% of all irrigating agricultural businesses were found in the Murray-Darling Basin (18,634 agricultural businesses). Of irrigating agricultural businesses in the Murray-Darling Basin, 42.5% (7,915) were in Victoria, 35.7% (6,651) in New South Wales, and the remainder in Queensland, South Australia and the Australian Capital Territory.

Agricultural businesses in the Murray-Darling Basin used 68.6% of all water used for irrigation purposes nationally, and accounted for 65.0% of all irrigated agricultural land nationally.

1.3 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, By Drainage Division - 2005-06

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

Bulloo-Bancannia
138
-
10 389
-
-
-
Gulf of Carpentaria
1 022
259
41 799
11
47 061
4.3
Indian Ocean
1 043
261
36 715
np
12 789
np
Lake Eyre
1 280
31
88 442
^1
^4 978
^3.3
Murray Darling
MDB in NSW
29 803
6 651
51 214
914
4 293 445
4.7
MDB in Vic.
18 496
7 915
7 593
522
2 055 487
3.9
MDB in Qld
7 881
1 536
23 421
147
611 817
4.2
MDB in SA
4 753
2 514
6 555
71
408 273
5.7
MDB in ACT
99
17
45
^ -
^784
^3.1
Total
61 033
18 634
88 828
1 654
7 369 807
4.5
North-East Coast
22 339
8 056
36 777
381
1 664 324
4.4
South Australian Gulf
7 441
2 590
7 962
45
89 191
2.0
South-East Coast
40 593
9 820
12 001
305
1 030 204
3.4
South-West Coast
13 047
2 793
21 569
45
186 528
4.2
Tasmania
4 745
1 919
1 739
81
203 931
2.5
Timor Sea
693
437
29 093
16
^124 838
^7.7
Western Plateau
1 307
26
59 611
np
3 714
np
Australia
154 681
44 826
434 925
2 546
10 737 364
4.2

^ estimate has a relative standard error of 10% to less than 25% and should be used with caution
- nil or rounded to zero (including null cells)
np not available for publication but included in totals where applicable, unless otherwise indicated



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