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4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2006-07  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/08/2008   
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Note: 19/02/2009: Data in these tables supplement that released in Water Use on Australian Farms 2006–07 on 27th August 2008. The additional datacubes present selected data at Natural Resource Management (NRM) region geographies. Data on major pastures and crops irrigated, sources of agricultural water by volume, irrigation methods by area irrigated, value of irrigation equipment and infrastructure, and total irrigation expenditure is presented for NRM regions.

NOTES


BACKGROUND

The agriculture industry is a major consumer of water in the Australian economy. The most recently published data on water use across the economy, 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 estimates of agricultural water use, pastures and crops irrigated, sources of water for agricultural use, irrigation water management and financial data relating to irrigation. Estimates are presented for Australia, state/territories and regions, as well as for the Murray-Darling Basin. The estimates are compiled from data collected as part of the Agricultural survey for the year ended 30 June 2007. Estimates for 2002-03 to 2005-06 are also included in this publication, and changes between 2005-06 and 2006-07 are described.

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 the period July 2006 to June 2007 are presented as an appendix to assist in interpreting this data.


INQUIRIES

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


SUMMARY COMMENTARY


AGRICULTURAL WATER USE

Australia

Agricultural water use decreased by 27.1% from the 11,689 gigalitres used in 2005-06 to 8,521 gigalitres in 2006-07. This was driven by a decrease in the use of water for irrigation of crops and pastures, primarily rice and cotton.

Of this 8,521 gigalitres, 89.6% was used for irrigation of pastures and crops, and 10.4% for other agricultural purposes such as stock watering and the cleaning of dairies and piggeries. Volumes of irrigation water for crops and pastures declined by 28.9% from 2005-06, and volumes of water for other purposes declined by 7.0%.

1.1 Agricultural water use, by State - 2006-07

Water Use
Agricultural businesses no.
Irrigation ML
Other agricultural uses ML
Total water use ML

NSW(a)
47 869
2 605 019
240 062
2 845 082
Vic.
37 429
1 648 914
174 371
1 823 285
Qld
30 650
1 840 252
243 980
2 084 231
SA
15 835
966 057
68 723
1 034 780
WA
13 608
293 186
118 806
411 992
Tas.
4 783
263 029
24 816
287 845
NT
643
19 737
14 477
34 215
Aust.
150 817
7 636 194
885 234
8 521 428

(a) Includes ACT.



State/territory

Total water use by agricultural businesses declined in all states/territories except for Tasmania and South Australia, where increases of 25.3% and 6.1% respectively were reported.

The largest decrease was reported in the New South Wales/Australian Capital Territory region, where total water use by agricultural businesses declined by 40.7% from 4,796 gigalitres in 2005-06 to 2,845 gigalitres in 2006-07. This was followed by Victoria with a decline of 31.0% and Queensland with a decline of 19.2% from the previous year.

Irrigation was the major use of water for agricultural businesses in all states/territories, accounting for 93.4% of all agricultural uses in South Australia, 91.6% in New South Wales, and 91.4% in Tasmania.

Water used for other agricultural purposes accounted for 42.3% of agricultural water use in the Northern Territory and 28.8% in Western Australia.


IRRIGATION WATER USE

Australia

Nationally, 27.7% of agricultural businesses reported using water for irrigation in 2006-07, a decline from the 29.0% reporting the use of water for irrigation in 2005-06. These businesses used 7,636 gigalitres of water for irrigation of crops and pastures, a decline of 28.9% from the 10,737 gigalitres reported in 2005-06.

Nationally, a total of 1,923,000 hectares of agricultural land was irrigated in 2006-07, a decline of 24.5% from that irrigated in 2005-06. The average application rate reduced slightly to 4.0 ML/ha.

1.2 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, by State - 2002-03 to 2006-07

Agricultural businesses no.
Agricultural businesses irrigating no.
Area of agricultural holding '000 ha
Area irrigated '000 ha
Volume applied ML
Application rate 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
2006-07
150 817
41 787
425 449
1 923
7 636 194
4.0
2006-07
New basis(b)
NSW(c)
47 869
10 689
58 661
680
2 605 019
3.8
Vic.
37 429
10 557
13 250
438
1 648 914
3.8
Qld
30 650
8 757
143 871
458
1 840 252
4.0
SA
15 835
6 447
50 065
201
966 057
4.8
WA
13 608
2 935
96 742
53
293 186
5.5
Tas.
4 783
2 060
1 659
87
263 029
3.0
NT
643
342
61 202
6
19 737
3.2

(a) Derived using ABS-maintained frame. See Explanatory Notes paragraphs 2-6 for detail.
(b) Derived using ABR-based register. See Explanatory Notes paragraphs 2-6 for detail.
(c) Includes ACT.



State/territory

The state with the largest number of agricultural businesses irrigating was New South Wales (25.6% of the national total), followed by Victoria (25.3%) and Queensland (21.0%).

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland continue to be the major users of irrigation water, together accounting for 6,094 gigalitres or 79.8% of the national volume of water used for irrigation. Water used for irrigation across these three states declined by 34.5% from the 9,307 gigalitres used in 2005-06.

Western Australia continued to have the highest application rate of irrigation water (5.5 ML/ha, up from 5.1 ML/ha in the previous year), followed by South Australia (4.8 ML/ha, up from 4.1 ML/ha). Tasmania continued to have the lowest application rate for irrigation water (3.0 ML/ha, up from 2.5 ML/ha in the previous year).

The area of agricultural land irrigated decreased in all states/territories except Tasmania where it increased by 7.4% to 87,000 hectares in 2006-07. Businesses in New South Wales reported the largest decline in area of land irrigated, down 31.6% to 680,000 hectares from 994,000 hectares in 2005-06. New South Wales reported the greatest proportion of the national irrigated land, with 680,000 hectares, accounting for 35.4% of the national total, followed by Queensland and Victoria accounting for 23.8% and 22.8% respectively.


Murray-Darling Basin

Nationally, 39.7% of agricultural businesses and 40.8% of irrigating agricultural businesses were in the Murray-Darling Basin. Irrigated agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin used 4,458 gigalitres of water, or 58.4% of water used for irrigation nationally. This is a decline of 39.5% in the volume of irrigation water applied from the previous year.

The area of agricultural land irrigated in the Murray-Darling Basin was 1,101,000 hectares, down 33.4% from the 1,654,000 hectares irrigated in 2005-06.

1.3 IRRIGATION ACTIVITY, Murray-Darling Basin(a) - 2006-07

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

MDB in NSW(b)
28 967
5 941
53 469
598
2 384 595
4.0
MDB in Vic
18 934
7 281
8 812
346
1 381 116
4.0
MDB in Qld
7 535
1 384
29 947
85
301 937
3.6
MDB in SA
4 429
2 456
4 932
73
390 631
5.4
MDB
59 865
17 062
97 160
1 101
4 458 279
4.1

(a) Refer to Explanatory Notes paragraph 12.
(b) Includes ACT.



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