HOUSEHOLD WATER USE AND CONSERVATION
Households accounted for 11% of the total water consumed in Australia in 2004-05, compared with agriculture which accounted for 65%. The amount of water households consumed in 2004-05 (2,108,263 megalitres (ML) was 7% less than the amount used in 2000-01 (2,278,173 ML). The decrease may be attributed, at least in part, to mandatory water restrictions in most states and territories since 2002.
Of the total volume of water consumed by households, New South Wales households consumed the most water (572,711 ML), followed by Queensland (492,908 ML) and Victoria (404,632 ML). Australian Capital Territory households consumed the least amount of water (30,989 ML). Climate plays a significant role in household water consumption, and explains some differences in the rate of household water consumption per person between states and territories (hotter, drier states and territories generally use more water than those which are cooler and wetter, e.g. Tasmania). Household water consumption per person decreased in all states and territories from 2000-01 to 2004-05 with the exception of Tasmania, which showed an increase of 17%.
Western Australia had the highest average household water consumption per person (180 kilolitres (kL) per person), followed by the Northern Territory (153 kL/person) and Tasmania (143 kL/person) (graph 2.12). The rate for Western Australia includes self-extracted water from urban water bores and as such is not directly comparable to the rates of other states. Victoria had the lowest rate of household water consumption (81 kL/person).
2.12 Rate of household water consumption
During the period 2000-01 to 2004-05, drought and water restrictions in many parts of Australia have focused attention on the need to conserve water. In response, an increasing number of households have installed water conserving devices, including dual-flush toilets and reduced-flow shower heads. In 2004 nearly three-quarters of all households (74%) had dual-flush toilets, up from 64% in 2001. Reduced-flow shower heads were used by 44% of all households (up from 35% in 2001). Nearly one in five households (18%) had neither a dual-flush toilet nor a reduced-flow shower head, down from nearly one in three (27%) in 2001 (graph 2.13).
2.13 Water conservation devices used
Nearly half of all households (46%) reported using one or more water conservation practices in 2004. The most popular measures adopted included using full loads when washing dishes and clothes, and taking shorter showers (18% of all households reported doing each of these). Recycling and/or reusing water was reported by 16% of all households, up from 11% in 2001 (graph 2.14). These measures were particularly popular in Victoria, where more than a quarter of households undertook these activities.
2.14 Household water conservation practices