Higher rainfall in 2020-21 leads to increased water consumption

Media Release

Higher rainfall across most of Australia in 2020-21 pushed down water prices, leading to a 25 per cent increase in Australian water consumption, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

Jonathon Khoo, Director of the ABS Centre of Environmental and Satellite Accounts, said that farmers drove the increase in consumption after falls in the last two years due to drought conditions.

“There was a 37 per cent increase in water use by the Agricultural industry due to higher rainfall in agricultural areas like the Murray Darling Basin.

“Increased rainfall resulted in increased planting of water-intensive crops like cotton and rice, which had not been planted widely for several years due to drought,” Mr Khoo said.

Although rainfall increased in 2020-21, total water use per household remained steady at 180 kilolitres per household year-on-year.

“The decrease in household water use that is typically observed in wetter years appears to have been partially offset by an increase in people at home in 2020-21 due to lockdowns associated with the COVID-19 pandemic,” Mr Khoo said.

Due to a 23 per cent increase in national dam levels, the reliance on back-up water sources like desalination (-18 per cent) and re-use water (-4 per cent) dropped from levels seen in drier years.

Media notes

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