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Water used on farms
Irrigation of crops and pastures
The majority of water used on farms was applied to pastures and crops.
In 2018-19, 5 million megalitres were applied to Crops (70% of all water applied):
Of the 2.2 million megalitres applied to Pastures (30% of all water applied):
Murray Darling Basin
Lower than average rainfall and resulting drought in many catchment areas resulted in decreased water available for irrigation.
Almost two thirds (62%) of Australia's total water use for irrigation was within the Murray Darling Basin region where there was:
Cotton, pastures for grazing and fruit and nut trees used 63% of the water applied in this region:
Drought, bushfires and Coronavirus (COVID-19)
Impacts of drought are evident in agricultural activity estimates for the 2018-19 reference year across a number of the ABS' agricultural collections, including Water Use on Australian Farms. Many farming areas across Australia experienced drought throughout 2019, with New South Wales and Queensland particularly impacted.
There are no impacts in the 2018-19 estimates from more recent events including the COVID-19 pandemic, and from bushfire activity in New South Wales, Victoria and the Australian Capital Territory in late 2019 and early 2020. The ABS is continuing to monitor potential impacts from natural disasters and COVID-19 across its agricultural collections for the 2019-20 reference year and beyond. For more information on the expected economic impacts of the Bushfire and COVID-19, please see the ABS Chief Economist Series paper Measuring natural disasters in the Australian economy.
New ABS Website
The ABS will be launching a new website in 2020. You will soon be able to see how this release will appear on the new website by exploring our Beta site. Regular users of this information are encouraged to explore the Beta site and consider if this will affect the way you access and consume ABS data and information. If you would like more information on the new ABS website, or want to discuss how the transition to the new site might impact you, please email newABSwebsite@abs.gov.au
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