Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home > Statistics > By Catalogue Number
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/05/2015   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product
29 May 2015
Embargo: 11.30 am (Canberra time)

Water use on Australian farms remains at high levels

Total water used for agricultural production remained high at 11.6 million megalitres in 2013-14, according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

"This level of water use reflects a small decline of three per cent from 2012-13," said Sarah Kiely of the ABS. "The main contributor to this decline in agricultural water use was a decrease in the amount of water allocated to irrigators in the Murray Darling Basin, combined with a reduction in purchases of temporary and permanent water.

"The decline was most prevalent in New South Wales, where water use dropped 13 per cent to 4.5 million megalitres."

Despite the overall decline, New South Wales remained the state with the highest volume of water used for agriculture, with Queensland and Victoria the next biggest users of water for agriculture, using 3.0 million megalitres and 2.7 million megalitres respectively.

"Reflecting the adverse seasonal conditions across the eastern states, Queensland saw a 47 per cent increase in the volume of water applied to sugar cane crops, while in Victoria, the volume of water applied to pasture and crops used for grazing, hay and silage increased 24 per cent,” said Ms Kiely .

"Irrigation channels still remain the main source of water for agricultural production in Australia with 38 per cent of Australian farms using this source. Recycled water only accounts for one per cent of total water use, despite a 27 per cent increase."

Further information is available in Water Use on Australian Farms (cat. no. 4618.0), available for free download from the ABS website -

Media note:
  • When reporting ABS data you must attribute the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or the ABS) as the source.
  • Media requests and interviews - contact the ABS Communications Section on 1300 175 070.

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2016

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.