Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate this page
ABS Home > Statistics > By Release Date
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2003-04  
Previous ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 27/10/2005   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All RSS Feed RSS Bookmark and Share Search this Product


October 27, 2005
Embargoed 11:30am (AEST)

Fewer farms irrigating in 2003-04: ABS

Despite fewer farms irrigating in 2003-04 than the previous year, slightly more water was used over a larger area, according to a report released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

A total of 40,400 farms irrigated in 2003-04, down 8% from 2002-03. This figure represented under one-third (31%) of Australian farms, down from 33% in 2002-03.

Irrigating farms applied a total of 10,442 gigalitres (GL) of irrigation water to 2.4 million hectares (see media note). This represented 0.5% of agricultural land used for pasture and crops. This was a slight increases in both volume and area compared with 2002-03.

Pasture for grazing continued to use the most water in Australia in 2003-04, using 30% of the total volume of irrigation water on 33% of the total area irrigated nationally.

The most heavily irrigated crop was rice, with an average application rate of 12.4 megalitres per hectare (ML/ha), down from 14.1 ML/ha in 2002-03. This was almost three times the national average rate across all crops and pasture (4.3 ML/ha). Cotton had the next highest irrigation water use (6.7 ML/ha).

Western Australia reported the highest average application rate (5.7 ML/ha) and Tasmania the lowest (2.6 ML/ha).

The most common source of irrigation water nationally was surface water, such as rivers and dams, reported by 72% of irrigating establishments. The use of recycled or re-used water from off-farm sources increased by nearly 50% from 1,053
establishments in 2002-03 to 1,569 in 2003-04.

Surface irrigation, such as flood irrigation, was again the prevalent irrigation method nationally, used on 58% of areas irrigated in 2003-04.

Nationally, 6,200 or 4.8% of agricultural establishments reported purchasing extra water during 2003-04, while 4,388 or 3.4% reported selling water.

Further information is in
Water Use on Australian Farms 2003-04 (cat. no. 4618.0).

Media note:

1 Gigalitre (GL) = One thousand million litres, or approximately 444 Olympic swimming pools.
1 Megalitre (ML) = One million litres, or approximately half an Olympic swimming pool.
1 Hectare (ha) = 100 metre by 100 metre area, or 10,000 square metres.
1 Megalitre per hectare (ML/ha) = 100 millimetres depth of water over each hectare.

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.