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4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2009-10 Quality Declaration 
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2011   
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Contents >> Water supply sewerage and drainage >> Bulk water, Water losses

BULK WATER
 
Bulk water is water supplied from one water provider to another and can include either potable, reuse, or raw water. These bulk supplies are typically 'wholesale supply' arrangements between water providers, with the recipient then distributing to final customers according to a 'retail supply' arrangement.
 
In 2009–10, 3,093 GL of bulk distributed water was supplied by water providers. Bulk water distribution was largest in New South Wales, accounting for half of the Australian total (see table below).
 
The supply of bulk reuse water is relatively small, but is a developing activity in Australia. In 2009–10, a total of 38 GL of reuse water was supplied for use to different water providers. Victoria accounted for half (50%) of total bulk reuse water supplied in Australia, with Queensland (47%) accounting for most of the remainder.
 

BULK WATER SUPPLIED(a), Distributed and reuse water— 2009–10

  NSW  
  Vic.  
  Qld  
  SA  
  WA  
  Tas.  
  NT  
  ACT  
  Aust.  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  
  ML  

  Distributed  
1 544 077
462 704
839 788
503
241 680
96
              -   
3 716
3 092 564
  Reuse  
5
19 151
18 024
787
              -   
              -   
              -   
              -   
37 967
  Total  
1 544 082
481 855
857 812
1 290
241 680
96
              -   
3 716
3 130 531

(a) Water supplied from one water provider to another.  

 
 
WATER LOSSES
 
"Water losses" refer to water that enters the water distribution system of a water provider but does not reach the end users. Water losses can be attributed to seepage, leakage, evaporation (excluding evaporation from water storages), meter inaccuracies and theft. Note that this definition is similar to the definition for "unaccounted water" in the National Performance Report 2009–10: Rural Service Providers (National Water Commission, April 2011).

In the Water Account Australia, losses are assigned to the Water supply industry, following the framework outlined in the System of Environmental-Economic Accounts for Water (SEEA–Water). This enables a consistent treatment of losses and does not affect industry (e.g. Agriculture, Mining, Manufacturing) water consumption intensity measures.

Water losses are difficult to measure and consequently the estimation of losses by water suppliers is problematic. Industry guidelines have been established for estimating losses and it is hoped that over time estimation of losses will improve.

In 2009–10, the total volume of water losses (or unaccounted water) in Australia was 1,803 GL, which is about 20% of the gross water supplied (which includes bulk transfers to other water providers, see Glossary).
 
Of the States and Territories, New South Wales reported the highest percentage of losses as a proportion of gross water supplied (29%), followed by Victoria (20%) and Western Australia (14%).
 

DISTRIBUTION LOSSES— 2009–10

  NSW  
  Vic.  
  Qld  
  SA  
  WA  
  Tas.  
  NT  
  ACT  
  Aust.  

Volume of losses
Urban water providers (ML)  
126 275
81 107
73 280
34 992
38 318
7 908
9 787
3 778
375 445
Irrigation/rural water providers (ML)
846 586
398 251
106 050
12 917
59 377
4 410
              -   
              -   
1 427 591
Total (ML)
972 861
479 358
179 330
47 909
97 695
12 318
9 787
3 778
1 803 036
Losses as proportion of distributed water supply(a)
Urban water providers (%)
13
8
11
16
8
9
17
8
11
Irrigation/rural water providers (%)
35
29
8
8
24
6
              -   
              -   
26
Total (%)
29
20
9
13
14
8
17
8
20

(a)  Calculated against gross water supply including water supplied to other water providers and customers, losses, own use by water providers, and environmental flows.

DISTRIBUTION LOSSES(a)2009–10



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