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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Industry highlight: WSSDS

In 2017-18, the Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services (WSSDS) industry extracted 11,755,802 ML of water from the environment. This was an increase of 9% from 2016-17. This water was sourced from:

  • Surface water: 11,010,590 ML or 94% of the total.
  • Groundwater: 573,518 ML or 5% of the total.
  • Sea water for desalination: 171,693 ML or 1% of the total.

Figure 1: Self-extracted water by origin - Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry, Australia

Figure 1 shows Self-extracted water by origin - Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry, Australia


In 2017-18, the Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry released 1,755,376 ML of water back into the environment, a decrease of 7% from 2016-17. These return flows were to:
  • Surface water: 368,778 ML or 21% of the total.
  • Groundwater: 26,831 ML or 2% of the total.
  • Sea (estuary or ocean): 1,359,768 ML or 77% of the total.

Figure 2: Return flows by destination - Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry, Australia

Figure 2 shows Return flows by destination - Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry, Australia


In 2017-18, the Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services industry supplied 11,755,802 ML of distributed water;
  • 15% was supplied to households; and
  • 85% was supplied to industry;
  • this includes 1,513,512 ML of water losses, which accounted for 13% percent of total distributed water.

The industry also supplied 269,677 ML of reuse water:
  • only 2% of reuse water was supplied to households; and
  • 98% was supplied to industry.