Water is fundamental to the survival of people and other organisms. Apart from drinking water, much of our economy (agriculture, in particular) relies on water. Furthermore, the condition of freshwater ecosystems has a critical impact on the wider environment.
Fresh water is a finite and scarce resource in many areas of Australia. Consumption of fresh water potentially depletes water storages in dams and reduces river flows, which can be environmentally and economically detrimental.
There is currently no headline indicator for the inland waters dimension that takes into account the quantity and the quality of water available, and the health of Australia’s inland water ecosystems. Measuring inland water use is also problematic due to fluctuating weather patterns and resulting inconsistent user demands.
For a more in-depth discussion about how inland waters relate to progress and whether they are improving in Australia, please see the Inland waters chapter in Measures of Australia’s Progress, 2010 (cat. no. 1370.0).
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