4602.0.55.003 - Environmental Issues: Water use and Conservation, Mar 2010 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 19/11/2010  First Issue
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For information on the institutional environment of the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS), including the legislative obligations of the ABS, financing and governance arrangements, and mechanisms for scrutiny of ABS operations, please see ABS Institutional Environment.

        The most recent Water Use and Conservation (WUC) Survey was conducted in March 2010 and provides household information on:
      • water sources
      • rainwater tanks and reasons why rainwater tank was installed
      • water use and conservation inside the dwelling
      • water use and conservation in the garden and outside the dwelling
      • satisfaction with the quality of drinking water.

    The survey was conducted throughout Australia as a supplement to the ABS monthly Labour Force Survey (LFS).

    The survey covers households in urban, rural and very remote areas across all states and territories of Australia, excluding households in Indigenous Communities in very remote areas of Australia.


    The WUC survey is collected triennially during March as a supplement to the ABS monthly LFS. Surveys on this topic have been conducted since 1994. Data from the survey is released approximately eight months after the completion of enumeration (i.e. during November).


    The sample size for the March 2010 LFS was approximately 32,000 dwellings. Only one half of these dwellings were included in the sample for the March 2010 supplementary topic and there were 12,882 fully responding households. Taking into account sample loss, the response rate was 93%.

    Estimates in this publication are subject to sampling and non-sampling errors. Sampling error is the error associated with taking a sample of dwellings rather than going to all dwellings in Australia. In this publication the sampling error is measured by the relative standard error (RSE), the standard error expressed as a percentage of the estimate. Non-sampling errors can occur in any data collection, whether based on a sample or a full count such as a census. Sources of non-sampling error include non-response, errors in reporting by respondents or recording answers by interviewers, and errors in coding or processing of data. Every effort is made to reduce the non–sampling error by careful design and testing of questions, training interviewers, follow-up of respondents and extensive editing and quality control procedures at all stages of data processing.


    From 2008, the three topics pertaining to the publication, Environmental issues: People's Views and Practices (cat. no. 4602.0), Energy Use and Conservation, Waste Management and Transport Use and Water Use and Conservation have been provided with separate publication titles and catalogue numbers. The 2010 release is now entitled, Environmental Issues: Water Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.003).

    While the ABS seeks to maximise consistency and comparability over time by minimising changes to the survey, sound survey practice requires ongoing development to maintain the integrity of the data. For 2010, a few data items and categories have been changed, removed and added to capture current trends and practices in household water use and conservation. These changes are outlined in the Explanatory notes (see paragraph 13).


    This publication contains tables with footnoted data and a summary of the main findings to assist with the interpretation of the results of the survey. Detailed Explanatory notes, a Technical note on Data Quality and a Glossary are also included providing information on the terminology, classifications and other technical aspects associated with these statistics.


    The main product from the survey is a PDF publication, Environmental Issues: Water Use and Conservation (cat. no. 4602.0.55.003), released electronically via the ABS website. In addition to the PDF publication, the publication tables and associated RSE tables are available in spreadsheet format. Additional tables (similar to those presented in Environmental Issues: People's Views and Practices, March 2007 (cat. no.4602.0)) and associated RSE tables are also available on the ABS website in spreadsheet format.

    Data is available at state/territory level and state/territory by capital city/balance of state level. Additional data may be available on request. Note that detailed data can be subject to high relative standard errors, and in some cases, may result in data being confidentialised.

    For further information about these or related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Centre on 1300 135 070.