1386.0 - What's New in Regional Statistics, Jun 2008  
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 04/06/2008   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



Water Use on Australian Farms


Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms, 2006-07


A quarter of all irrigation water in 2005-06 was used on pastures! This was one of the findings from the Water Use on Australian Farms, 2005-06 (cat. no. 4618.0) publication released on 13 March 2008.

This publication and associated tables present final estimates of agricultural water use, pastures and crops irrigated, and sources of water used for agriculture at a national, state/territory and regional level, with the Murray-Darling Basin treated as a distinct geographical region for the first time in this series. Information from the Bureau of Meteorology outlining climatic conditions over key agricultural areas between July 2005 and June 2006 are also presented, as climatic conditions affect both the availability of water for irrigation and the need to irrigate in order to supplement rainfall.

Additional data tables presenting data at finer geographies than those previously published were released on 28 March 2008. These provide a summary of irrigation water use for Statistical Local Areas and River Basins. Data on major pastures and crops irrigated are presented for Statistical Divisions, Natural Resource Management regions, as well as data for the Murray-Darling Basin by each state.

Key findings from the 2005-06 data

  • In 2005-06, Australian agricultural businesses used 11,689 gigalitres of water for agricultural production.
  • Of this, 10,737 gigalitres (91.9%) was used for the irrigation of pastures and crops.
  • The total volume of water applied to grazing pastures was 2,888 gigalitres - using an average rate of 3.5 megalitres per hectare.
  • Cotton was the next biggest user of irrigation water, using 16% of water used on crops and pastures, at an average of 6.4 megalitres per hectare.
  • Rice used 12% of water used on crops and pastures and was the highest user per hectare, at almost double the rate of cotton.
  • Surface water is still the major source of water used by agriculture in most states and territories, accounting for 77% of all water used.
  • Almost two thirds of irrigated land in Australia was in the Murray-Darling Basin.

More details are available in Water Use on Australian Farms 2005-06 (cat. no. 4618.0).


Natural Resource Management on Australian Farms, 2006-07 (cat. no. 4620.0) is due for release on 25 June 2008. This publication and accompanying tables will present data on natural resource management issues, activities and costs on Australian Farms. It will include data on weeds, pests, land and soil, native vegetation and water. Data will be presented at the Australian, state and regional (Natural Resource Management region) levels.