Water Supply and Use
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:
Figure 1: Electricity and Gas Supply industry - Self-extracted water, Accessible volume in major dam storages
- 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.
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.
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:
Figure 2: Distributed water use by selected industries and households, Australia
- Households, using 1,801,464 ML.
- Manufacturing, using 235,333 ML.
- Mining, using 101,883 ML.
- Electricity and Gas Supply, using 146,123 ML.
In 2017-18, the supply of reuse water decreased to 310,844 ML. The key user was:
- Agriculture, using 96,930 ML.
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.
In 2017-18, total expenditure on distributed water was $9.5 billion. Key contributors were:
Figure 3: Expenditure of distributed water, by industry and households
- 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.
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.