Australian Water Consumption Drops in 2019-20

Media Release
Released
20/10/2021

Drought conditions in 2019-20 created upwards pressure on water prices, leading to a 15 per cent drop in Australian water consumption according to data released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Farmers drove the decrease in consumption for the second year in a row. Director of the ABS Centre for Environment and Satellite Accounts, Jonathon Khoo, said a 20 per cent decrease in water use by the Agricultural industry was due to a lack of rainfall in agricultural areas like the Murray Darling Basin.

“Significant periods of low rainfall in these key agricultural areas has resulted in a reduction in beef and sheep herd stocks and minimal cotton production in Australia.” said Jonathon Khoo.

Total household water use was 1,815 GL, remaining steady year on year. However, when the number of households is accounted for, Australians consumed less water.

 “Households responded to low water availability and associated restrictions by reducing water use to 0.18 ML per household, down 2 per cent since last financial year.”

While industries and households tightened their belts, water suppliers looked to alternative water sources.

“Desalination plants ramped up production to relieve pressure on the nation’s water assets, producing 385 GL in 2019-20, a 193 per cent increase from the previous year.” said Jonathon Khoo.

Rainfall late in 2019-20 saw a slight recovery in dam levels across Australia, up 3 per cent since June 2018-19, highlighting improved water availability going forward.

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