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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.
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
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.
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.
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.
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