4610.0 - Water Account Australia, 2008-09, 2008-09  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 29/11/2010   
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29 November 2010
Embargo: 11.30 am (AEDT)

Water consumption down, water prices up

Water prices have risen, but Australia is using less water according to the 4th Edition of the Water Account Australia, released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics.

The average price of water nearly doubled from $0.40/kL in 2004-05 to $0.78/kL in 2008-09. There was large variation in the average price paid for water in 2008-09 with households paying $1.93/kL and agriculture $0.12/kL.

"Water is a critical issue for Australia. The ABS Water Account Australia provides information to inform public debate and government decision making about water and how it is managed.” said Mr Brian Pink, the Australian Statistician.

At current prices, there was a 76% increase in the industry value added per GL of water consumed from $54 million per GL to $95 million per GL between 2004-05 and 2008-09.

In 2008-09, total water consumption in the Australian economy was 14,101 GL, down 25% from 2004-05 when it was 18,767 GL. Australian household consumption was 1,768 GL, a decrease of 16% from 2004-05.

Agriculture activity used over half (7,589 GL or 54%) of total water consumption. Of the 7,589 GL of water consumed in agriculture in 2008-09, cotton accounted for 12% (880 GL), cereals for grain 11% (829 GL), pasture for dairy cattle 10% (759 GL), and sugar 10% (761 GL).

The amount of water consumed by the mining industry in 2008-09 was 508 GL, 23% more than in 2004-05. This rise is associated with increased levels of mining activity. There was also a 15% increase from 2004-05 in the manufacturing industry.

“The Water Account Australia is an example of the contribution ABS can make to public policy and in collaboration with others, we are hoping to do more environmental accounting in future years." said Mr Pink.

Further details, including state summaries, can be found in Water Account Australia, 2008-09 (cat. no. 4610.0), available for free download from the ABS website www.abs.gov.au