4610.0.55.007 - Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile, 2000-01 to 2005-06  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 15/08/2008  First Issue
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August 15, 2008
Embargoed: 11:30 am (AEST)

Murray-Darling Basin uses the majority of Australia's water: ABS

Just over half of Australia's water use in 2004-05 was in the Murray-Darling Basin, according to a new report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.

Water and the Murray-Darling Basin - A Statistical Profile draws together data from ABS and other sources to paint a picture about this important region.

The Murray-Darling Basin is a region of national significance. It covers 14% of Australia's land area, contains Australia's three longest rivers (the Darling, the Murray and the Murrumbidgee), and it is home to 10% of Australia's population.

Most (83%) of the water used in the Murray-Darling Basin was by agriculture, and this represented around 65% of Australia's total agricultural water use.

Other key findings include:
. 13% of water consumption in the Murray-Darling Basin was by the water supply industry (mostly lost in delivery systems), 2% by households, 1% by manufacturing and 2% by other industries.
. The highest agricultural water users in the Basin were cotton (20%), dairy farming (17%), pasture for other livestock (17%) and rice (16%).
. The Murray-Darling Basin generated $15 billion, or 39%, of Australia's agricultural production.
. The Murray-Darling Basin contained 65% of Australia's irrigated land.
. Over a third (38%) of Australia's farmers reside in the Basin.