SOURCES OF AGRICULTURAL WATER
The main sources of Australia's water for agriculture in 2008-09 were government or private irrigation schemes, groundwater and surface water. Falls in overall use were reflected in falls in each of the major water sources, although the relative importance of these sources was comparable to 2006-07.
Government or private irrigation schemes accounted for 2,605 gigalitres, or 36% of all agricultural water. Compared to 2006-07, the amount of water supplied by government or private irrigation schemes in 2008-09 decreased by 20%. Groundwater accounted for 34% of agricultural water use nationally in 2008-09 (2,490 gigalitres), a 9% decrease compared to 2006-07. Surface water made up a further 27% of the total volume of water from all sources in 2008-09 (1,976 gigalitres), a 12% decrease compared to 2006-07.
Increases in the volume of water for agricultural purposes were recorded for town or country reticulated mains supply (up 27% in 2008-09 compared to 2006-07), and recycled or re-used water from off-farm sources (up 5% in the same period).
Groundwater was the major source of agricultural water in New South Wales (40% of all water for agricultural purposes), South Australia (62%), Western Australia (43%), and Northern Territory (81%).
Water supplied by government or private irrigation schemes was the main source of agricultural water in Victoria (57%), and Queensland (41%) while in Tasmania, the main source was surface water (73%).
In 2008-09, water supplied by government or private irrigation schemes was the major source of water for agriculture in the Murray-Darling Basin, accounting for 42% of agricultural water sourced in the region. Groundwater supplied 28% of the total volume, while surface water also supplied 28%. Outside the Murray-Darling Basin, ground water was the major source of water for agriculture (40%).
PURCHASES AND SALES OF IRRIGATION WATER
In 2008-09, the volume of extra irrigation water purchased on a permanent basis amounted to 75 gigalitres, at a value of $107.2 million, with New South Wales purchasing the greatest volume (42%) and accounting for a third of the national value. The volume of extra irrigation water purchased on a temporary basis was 553 gigalitres, at a value of $146.7 million, with Victoria accounting for just over a third of the national volume and nearly half of the national value.
The volume of irrigation water sold on a permanent basis in Australia in 2008-09 totalled 302 gigalitres, with a value of $420.3 million. The volume of irrigation water sold on a temporary basis totalled 496 gigalitres, with a value of $138.6 million. New South Wales accounted for the majority of the volume and value of irrigation water sold on both a permanent and temporary basis in 2008-09.
In the Murray-Darling Basin in 2008-09, 501 gigalitres of extra irrigation water were purchased on a temporary basis, valued at $138.2 million. Of irrigation water sold on a temporary basis nationally, the Murray-Darling Basin accounted for 91% of the total volume and 97% of the national value.