4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2002-03  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 31/03/2005   
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Agricultural establishment

An establishment which is engaged mainly in agricultural activities.


The volume of water allocated for use either within or external to a surface water management area by way of licensing arrangements and formal entitlements to water.

Area of holding

Includes all occupied and maintained land owned, leased or rented, land worked by sharefarmers and all road permits by a particular agricultural establishment. Excludes land leased or rented to others.

Application rate

Rate at which water is applied to an area or crop, measured in megalitres per hectare.

Area entitlement

An ongoing right to access water, the quantity of which is restricted by area.

Centre pivot

Automated sprinkler irrigation achieved by automatically rotating the sprinkler pipe or boom, supplying water to the sprinkler heads or nozzles, as a radius from the centre of the field to be irrigated.

Drip irrigation

An irrigation technique that applies water to crops by methods that deliver the water to individual plants or rows of crops (also termed 'trickle' techniques).


An individual's ongoing right to access water.

Entitlement allocated

The quantity of an individuals total entitlement that they are allowed to access in a given period.

Estimated value of agricultural operations (EVAO)

An estimation of the value of agricultural activity undertaken by an agricultural establishment. Three-year average weighted prices are applied to livestock turnoff and livestock numbers on the farm, and to area and production data for crops. The resultant aggregation of these commodity values is the EVAO. It is not an indicator of the value of receipts of individual farms but rather an indicator of the extent of agricultural activity.


One thousand million litres.


Water occurring below the ground's surface.

Groundwater rights

The legal right to access water naturally occurring below the ground surface.

Irrigation scheduling

The process of making decisions about when to irrigate and how much water to apply to an irrigated crop to maximise net returns.

Laser levelling

The use of a laser guided land plane to re-level the paddock surface, filling low spots and removing high spots to give a uniform paddock surface and to create a suitable slope for improving watering efficiency.


Includes contour, graded and interceptor banks.

Licensed allocation

The maximum volume of water available to the holder of a licence to extract water.


One million litres.

Micro spray/micro-irrigation

System of irrigation designed to use low pressure and small flows of water to mini-sprays, mini-sprinklers, drippers and piping with a series of small openings.

Permanent transfer of water rights

The transfer of water entitlements to a new owner.

Recycled or re-used water (off-farm)

Waste water, that may have been treated to some extent, that is used again without first being discharged to the environment eg. sewage water brought onto a property for the purpose of irrigation.

Recycled or re-used water (on-farm)

Water reused on-site.

Soil probes

A soil moisture monitoring system, used to assist in determining when to irrigate and also how much water to apply.

Sprinkler irrigation

Irrigation applied from various forms of overhead sprays (also known as spray irrigation).

Surface irrigation

Irrigation in the form of controlled flooding of paddocks or irrigation bays.

Surface water

Water flowing or held in streams, rivers and other wetlands in the landscape.

Temporary transfer of water rights

The lease of water entitlements for a specified period of time, usually one year.


Device used to measure the water content of soil by measuring the tension with which the water is held in the soil.

Town or country reticulated mains supply

Water supplied through a non-natural network where an economic transaction has occured for the exchange of this water.

Trickle irrigation

As for drip irrigation.

Volume entitlement

An ongoing right to access water, the quantity of which is restricted by volume.

Water right(s)

A formally established, or legal authority to take water from a body of water and to retain the benefits of its use. Rights may be attenuated in different ways and are referred to in different jurisdictions as licences, concessions, permits, access entitlements or allocations.

Water trading

The process of buying and selling water entitlements, where entitlements can include water supplied as part of a licence, allocation or other entitlement.