4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2017-18 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 05/06/2020   
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Water Supply and Use

Physical

Self-extracted water

In 2017-18, the total amount of water extracted from the environment was 70,300,410 ML. This was a decrease of 6% from the previous year.


Self-extracted water: Electricity and Gas Supply industry

The Electricity and Gas Supply industry (mostly hydroelectric energy generation) was the main driver behind total self-extracted water use:

  • In 2017-18 the Electricity and Gas Supply industry accounted for 76% of total self-extracted water use, or 53,643,604 ML.
  • This was a decrease of 9% from the previous year.

Figure 1: Electricity and Gas Supply industry - Self-extracted water, Accessible volume in major dam storages

Figure 1 shows Electricity and Gas Supply industry - Self-extracted water, Accessible volume in major dam storages

It should be noted that water used for hydroelectricity production is mostly returned to the environment. In 2017-18, 99% of self-extracted water used for hydroelectricity generation was returned to the environment.

Due to these return flows, the following figures exclude Electricity and Gas Supply:
  • The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry extracted 11,755,802 ML of water, of which:
    • 9,965,773 ML was supplied to industries - this includes own use and losses;
    • 1,790,029 ML was supplied to households.
  • The Agriculture industry extracted:
    • 3,381,388 ML of water from the environment;
    • 1,250,337 ML was used by Other Crop Growing;
    • 1,201,358 ML was used by Sheep, Beef Cattle and Grain Growing.
  • The Mining industry extracted:
    • 1,108,029 ML of water from the environment, accounting for 91% of total water use by Mining.
  • The Manufacturing industry extracted:
    • 297,905 ML of water from the environment, accounting for 54% of total water use by Manufacturing.


Distributed water

11,782,458 ML of distributed water was used in 2017-18, up 9% from 2016-17.

The Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry supplied over 99% of distributed water.

Distributed water use is driven by demand from the Agriculture industry. Water demand by agriculture increases when rainfall declines. In 2017-18:
  • Rainfall declined by 26% percent across Australia.
  • Agricultural distributed water use increased by 10% to 7,327,059 ML.

Other key users of distributed water in 2017-18 were:
  • Households, using 1,801,464 ML.
  • Manufacturing, using 235,333 ML.
  • Mining, using 101,883 ML.
  • Electricity and Gas Supply, using 146,123 ML.

Figure 2: Distributed water use by selected industries and households, Australia

Figure 2 shows Distributed Water use by Selected Industries and Households, Australia


Reuse Water

In 2017-18, the supply of reuse water decreased to 310,844 ML. The key user was:
  • Agriculture, using 96,930 ML.


Return flows

In 2017-18, the Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry:
  • Released 1,755,376 ML of water to the environment,
  • Representing 90% of total wastewater collected.


Monetary

Distributed Water

In 2017-18, total expenditure on distributed water was $9.5 billion. Key contributors were:
  • Households, accounting for 60% at $5.7 billion.
  • Other industries, accounting for 21% at $2 billion.
  • Agriculture, Forestry and Fishing, accounting for 6% at $583 million.

Figure 3: Expenditure of distributed water, by industry and households

Figure 3 shows Expenditure of distributed water, By Industry and Households

In 2017-18, expenditure on sewerage and wastewater services was $7.1 billion, a 4% increase from the previous year. Key contributors were:
  • Households’ expenditure was $5.8 billion.
  • Other industries’ expenditure was $1.0 billion.
  • Manufacturing expenditure was $209 million.