4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2016-17 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/02/2019   
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26 February 2019
Embargoed: 11:30 am (Canberra time)

New South Wales, Victoria and Queensland biggest water consumers in 2016-17

Across the Australian economy, industry and households consumed a total 16,558 gigalitres of water (the equivalent of more than 33 Sydney Harbours) in 2016-17 according to figures released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Centre of Environmental and Satellite Accounts Director, Jonathon Khoo said the annual Water Account brought together a wide range of water related statistics to present an integrated picture of the flows of water between the environment and the Australian economy.

"Data from the account shows that in 2016-17 agriculture consumed the largest proportion of water at 62 per cent (10,305 gigalitres) followed by households which consumed 12 per cent (1,909 gigalitres)," he said.

"To put those quantities into some proportion, one gigalitre is equal to one billion litres of water and it would take 500 gigalitres to fill the Sydney Harbour."

Of the states and territories, in 2016-17 New South Wales consumed the largest proportion of water at 6,567 gigalitres or 40 per cent of total water consumption. Queensland consumed 3,880 gigalitres (23 per cent) and Victoria consumed 3,147 gigalitres (19 per cent).

Western Australia's total water consumption was 1,417 gigalitres (9 per cent) while South Australia consumed 913 gigalitres (6 per cent); Tasmania 387 gigalitres (2 per cent); Northern Territory 194 gigalitres (1 per cent) and the ACT 53 gigalitres (0.3 per cent).

Households led the way in spending on water and water related services. Of the $17.8 billion spent in 2016-17, households spent $10.6 billion while more than $6.6 billion was spent by all industries.

Further details can be found in Water Account, Australia, 2016-17 (cat. no. 4610.0) available as a free download from the ABS website: <https://www.abs.gov.au>.

Media notes:
  • A gigalitre is equal to one billion litres of water. Sydney Harbour holds around 500 gigalitres.
  • When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the source.
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