4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2016-17 Quality Declaration 
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PHYSICAL WATER SUPPLY AND USE

During 2016-17, an estimated 76,159 gigalitres of water was extracted from the environment to support the Australian economy, a 2% increase from 2015-16 (74,466 gigalitres). Of this amount, total water consumption by households and industry in 2016-17 was 16,558 gigalitres, an increase of 3% from 16,089 gigalitres in 2015-16. Of the total amount extracted from the environment, 59,869 gigalitres was used in-stream (for example, hydroelectricity generation) and was discharged back to the environment without consumption.

The increase in national water consumption was driven by water consumption in New South Wales (27%) and Northern Territory (40%). In contrast, there were decreases in water consumption in Victoria (16%), Queensland (1%), South Australia (22%), and Tasmania (15%). Western Australia remained steady.

The major driver of these increases was agricultural water consumption. New South Wales agricultural water consumption increased by 1,679 gigalitres (57%), and in the Northern Territory agricultural water consumption increased by 49 gigalitres (112%). Both regions experienced large increases in areas for cropping. Water consumption increased in New South Wales due to an increase in crop planting  and livestock counts which allowed farmers to restock herds off a low 2015-16 base. Northern Territory also experienced a large increase in water consumption due to increased total grazing area within the territory.

Agricultural water consumption increased in New South Wales 1,679 gigalitres (57%), Northern Territory 49 gigalitres (112%), Queensland 37 gigalitres (1%), Western Australia 8 gigalitres (2%) and Australian Capital Territory less than 1 gigalitre (58%). In contrast, Agricultural water consumption decreased in Victoria (17%), South Australia (28%) and Tasmania (18%).

Across other industries, nationally, Mining consumed 693 gigalitres (2% increase); Manufacturing consumed 558 gigalitres (2% decrease); Electricity and gas supply consumed 271 gigalitres (3% increase); and Other industries (mainly service industries) consumed 1,137 gigalitres (7% decrease).

Graph Image for Figure 1.1 Water Consumption - Industry and Households, by State and Territory

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Forestry and Fishing; (b) Includes Sewerage and Drainage Services and Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery; (c) Refer to Glossary "other industries".

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17


Graph Image for Figure 1.2 Water Consumption - Industry and Households, by State and Territory

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Forestry and Fishing; (b) Includes Sewerage and Drainage Services and Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery; (c) Refer to Glossary "other industries".

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17


Graph Image for Figure 2.1 Water Consumption - State and Territory, by Industry

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Forestry and Fishing; (b) Includes Sewerage and Drainage Services and Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery; (c) Refer to Glossary "other industries".

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17


Household water consumption increased by 1% (13 gigalitres) in 2016-17 at the national level. This varied between the states and territories with Household water consumption increasing in Northern Territory (17%), Victoria (3%), Queensland (3%), Tasmania (2%) and New South Wales (1%). In contrast, households in the remaining states and territories showed a decrease in water consumption, with declines in South Australia (12%), Western Australia (3%) and the Australian Capital Territory (1%).

Graph Image for Figure 2.2 Water Consumption - State and Territory, Households



86% (76,159 gigalitres) of total water used by industries and households in Australia in 2016-17 was sourced from inland surface or groundwater areas, 13% (11,663 gigalitres) from distributed water and less than 1% was reuse water. This was at a similar level in 2015-16.


Figure 2.3 Water Use by Water Type, Australia
Figure 2.3 shows Water Use by Water Type, Australia
Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4610.0)



MONETARY WATER SUPPLY AND USE

Total revenue from sales of water and the provision of water services in 2016-17 was $17.8 billion. This was similar to revenue collected in 2015-16 ($17.9 billion). Nearly all of this revenue (over 99%) was from the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry, 60% of revenue from this industry came from the supply of water, and the rest from Wastewater, sewerage and drainage services. New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland made up three-quarters (77%) of the total revenue from sales of water and the provision of water services.

Households spent $10.6 billion on water and related services in 2016-17 (up from $10.4 billion in 2015-16), compared with $6.7 billion by industry. Over half (52%) of this expenditure by households was on distributed water supply ($5.5 billion). This was just over a 3% increase in 2016-17. By comparison, the Agriculture, forestry and fishing industry spent $690 million on distributed water.

Industry water productivity decreased 1% in 2016-17, from $103 million per gigalitre of water consumed in 2015-16 to $102 million per gigalitre of water consumed in 2016-17.

Expenditure per kilolitre of water used by households increased from $3.23 per kilolitre of water used, to $3.28 per kilolitre of water used in 2016-17. South Australian households spent the most on water, at $3.91 per kilolitre of water consumed.

Graph Image for Figure 3 Distributed Water Use and Expenditure, Agriculture and Households, Australia, 2016-17

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Forestry and Fishing.

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17



WATER SUPPLY, SEWERAGE AND DRAINAGE SERVICES

In 2016-17, the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry extracted 11,592 gigalitres from the environment and produced 249 gigalitres of reuse water for distribution to industries and households.

The industry consumed about 1,483 gigalitres of water, 95% of this was from distributed use. The industry also used 71 gigalitres of reuse water.

Surface water was by far the greatest source for water supplied by the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry, accounting for 95% of total distributed water (10,988 gigalitres). Groundwater provided 401 gigalitres, while desalination plants supplied 203 gigalitres.


Graph Image for Figure 4 Distributed Water Use, Australia

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Forestry and Fishing; (b) Includes Sewerage and Drainage Services and Waste Collection, Treatment and Disposal Services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery; (c) Refer to Glossary "other industries".

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17




AGRICULTURE

The gross value of irrigated agricultural production (GVIAP) was estimated at $15.5 billion in 2016-17, 3% higher than 2015-16 ($15.0 billion). The area of irrigated agricultural land in 2016-17 was 2.2 million hectares representing only 0.6% of all agricultural land in 2016-17. Total water consumed from all agricultural activities was 9,969 gigalitres. This compares with 10,305 gigalitres of water consumption by businesses whose primary activity is Agricultural production - that is, the Agriculture industry.

Agricultural supply and use data, in an industry perspective, is consistent with the concepts used in environmental-economic accounting in this publication but differs from GVIAP. On average, Agriculture consumed 62% of Australia's total water consumption, an increase from 57% in 2015-16. See Explanatory Notes and Changes to this Issue for further details.

The Agriculture industry saw a 12% increase in water consumption in 2016-17, up by 1,103 gigalitres from 2015-16, mainly driven by increase in water consumption in New South Wales (57% or 1,679 gigalitres); increases were from a range of agricultural commodities including cotton, rice, sugar cane and 'production from sheep and other livestock'.

Decreases in Agriculture water consumption were seen in South Australia (28%), Victoria (17%) and Tasmania (18%).

The Agriculture industry had the largest proportion of water consumption in New South Wales (70%), Victoria (61%), Queensland (64%) and South Australia (63%) in 2016-17.

Just under half (48%) of Northern Territory's water consumption was Agriculture, with the Australian Capital Territory consuming negligible amounts of water for Agriculture.

Graph Image for Figure 5 Water Consumption - Agriculture (a) Industry, by State and Territory

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Forestry and Fishing.

Source(s): Water Account, Australia, 2016-17


Graph Image for Figure 6 Area Irrigated Land, Australia


SOIL WATER (NOT INCLUDED IN THE PHYSICAL SUPPLY AND USE TABLES)

The estimated quantity of water supplied from the soil in Australia for 2016-17 was 361,626 gigalitres, an increase of 11% from 2015-16 at 324,347 gigalitres. Queensland had the largest supply of water from soil in 2016-17 (110,036 gigalitres or 30% of the Australian total).