4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 30/04/2019   
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Irrigation expenditure

Extra irrigation water purchased on a temporary basis reached a record level in 2017-18 driven by increases in New South Wales, Victoria and South Australia. The volume of water purchased also increased in these states.

In 2017-18:

  • $201 million of extra water was purchased on a temporary basis (up 86%) amounting to 1.7 million ML (up 36%)
  • $57 million of extra water was purchased on a permanent basis (down 27%) amounting to 122 thousand ML (down 13%)
  • The total cost of annual irrigation charges remained steady at $243 million

Image: Graph showing extra water purchased on a temporary basis by state over the past five years

Sources of water for agricultural production

Australian farms used a total of 10.5 million megalitres (up 5%) of water taken from various sources including:
  • 3.9 million ML from irrigation channels or pipelines (up 6%)
  • 3.0 million ML of water from rivers, creeks or lakes (up 4%)
  • 2.2 million ML of groundwater (up 19%)
  • 1.2 million ML from on farm dams or tanks (down 12%)
  • 158 thousand ML from recycled or reused water from off farm sources (up 15%)
  • 54 thousand ML from a town or country reticulated mains supply (down 25%)

Image: Graph showing the change in components of total water sourced over the past five years