1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2012  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 24/05/2012   
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Water supply and use needs to be understood in the context of Australia's climate, which is characterised by highly variable rainfall between regions, seasons and years. Since 2002, many parts of Australia have been subject to mandatory water restrictions in response to drought. The growth of urban populations also increases pressure on existing water supplies.

Mains (town) water was the most common source of water for Australian households in 2010, with 93% of households being connected to this source (graph 2.1). Despite the majority of Australians having mains/town water supply, many households also rely on other sources to supplement their water supply. Grey water was the second most common source of water for households (28% of households) followed by rainwater tanks (26%).

2.1 Sources of Water for Households - 2010

In March 2010, 32% of households with dwellings suitable for a rainwater tank had a rainwater tank installed compared with 24% in 2007 (graph 2.2). South Australia continues to have the highest proportion of households with rainwater tanks followed by Queensland (57% and 42% respectively of households in 2010). The largest increases between 2007 and 2010 occurred in the Australian Capital Territory (more than doubling from 8% to 18%), Victoria (from 21% to 36%) and Queensland (from 26% to 42%).

2.2 Households iwth Rainwater Tank installed at dwellings(a) - 2007 and 2010

Areas outside capital cities continued to have a higher proportion of dwellings with rainwater tanks (43% compared with 26% in capital cities in 2010) (graph 2.3). Nearly nine out of ten (89%) households outside the capital city in South Australia had a rainwater tank installed. Adelaide (45% of households) and Brisbane (43%) were the capital cities with the highest proportion of households with rainwater tanks.

2.3 Rainwater tank installed at dwelling - 2010

Since the introduction of water restrictions, increasing numbers of households have installed water conserving devices, including dual-flush toilets and reduced-flow shower heads. In 2010, 86% of households had at least one dual-flush toilet, up from 55% in 1998. At least one water-efficient shower head was installed in the dwellings of two-thirds of Australian households (66%), up from 32% in 1998 (graph 2.4).

2.4 Households with Water Saving Products - 1998-2010

The most common step taken to save water in the garden was using mulch, which has increased from 22% in 2007 to 27% in 2010. This was followed by only watering when necessary, which has remained steady at 20%, and the use of grey water at 16% (graph 2.5).

2.5 Steps taken to save water in the garden - 2010


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Statistics contained in the Year Book are the most recent available at the time of preparation. In many cases, the ABS website and the websites of other organisations provide access to more recent data. Each Year Book table or graph and the bibliography at the end of each chapter provides hyperlinks to the most up to date data release where available.