4618.0 - Water Use on Australian Farms, 2015-16 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 07/07/2017   
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KEY FIGURES

WATER USE ON AUSTRALIAN FARMS, year ended 30 June 2016

Aust.
NSW
Vic.
Qld
SA
WA
Tas.
NT
ACT
MDBa

AGRICULTURAL WATER USE

Agricultural businesses ('000)
85.7
26.1
20.8
18.2
9.5
8.4
2.3
0.4
0.0
35.5
Agricultural businesses irrigating ('000)
22.7
5.3
6.0
5.4
3.1
1.5
1.2
0.2
0.0
9.2
Total water use ('000 ML) (b)
9 157.3
2 805.3
2 095.0
2 646.1
858.8
372.6
332.1
47.0
0.3
5 209.9
Water applied for irrigation ('000 ML) (c)
8 381.4
2 610.9
1 946.1
2 433.5
777.8
287.5
308.7
16.9
0.1
4 938.4
Water applied for other agricultural purposes ('000 ML) (d)
Change in total water use from 2014-15 (%)
775.9
194.5
148.8
212.6
81.0
85.1
23.5
30.1
0.3
271.6
-2.5
-15.5
-10.2
11.3
15.8
16.7
36.6
-21.9
32.5
-12.6

SOURCES OF AGRICULTURAL WATER

Irrigation channels or pipelines ('000 ML)
3 096.2
965.7
1 067.7
789.2
117.9
101.2
53.2
1.3
0.0
2 087.6
On-farm dams or tanks ('000 ML)
980.1
228.6
103.1
410.5
20.1
87.6
126.4
3.6
0.2
438.5
Rivers, creeks or lakes ('000 ML)
2 412.5
885.2
540.0
610.1
231.4
14.1
124.0
7.5
0.1
1 656.4
Groundwater ('000 ML)
2 357.2
675.5
292.3
761.7
432.3
141.6
19.3
34.4
0.0
926.2
Recycled/re-used from off-farm ('000 ML)
161.0
23.3
49.9
57.3
11.3
15.6
3.6
0.0
0.0
56.2
Town or country reticulated mains supply ('000 ML)
126.5
21.3
37.5
8.8
43.6
11.8
3.4
0.1
0.0
35.6
Other water sources ('000 ML)
23.8
5.7
4.5
8.4
2.2
0.7
2.2
0.0
0.0
9.5

(a) Murray Darling Basin (MDB)
(b) Includes water applied for irrigation and other agricultural purposes
(c) Includes water applied to pastures and crops
(d) Includes livestock drinking water, dairy or piggery cleaning etc.

Graph Image for Agricultural water use

Annotation(s): MDB=Murray-Darling Basin

Footnote(s): (a) Includes water applied for irrigation and other agricultural purposes;(b) Includes water applied to pastures and crops;(c) Includes livestock drinking water, dairy or piggery cleaning etc.

Source(s): Water Use on Australian Farms, 2014-15

Graph Image for Sources of Agricultural Water

Annotation(s): MDB=Murray-Darling Basin

Source(s): Water Use on Australian Farms, 2015-16



KEY POINTS
  • 2015-16 was a generally warm, dry year for Australia with above average temperatures and low rainfall, particularly in Victoria and South Australia. This affected the amount of water available in dams and tanks as well as limiting water allocations in a number of regions.
  • Total water use on Australian farms decreased 3% in 2015-16, to a total of 9.2 million megalitres, down 238,900 megalitres on 2014-15.
  • The volume of water used for irrigation also decreased between 2014-15 and 2015-16, down 3% to 8.4 megalitres with the number of businesses irrigating decreasing at a higher rate, down (18%) to 22,700 businesses.
  • The decrease in businesses irrigating is particularly prominent in New South Wales with the number of irrigating businesses falling 21% (down to 5,300), driven by sales of water allocations. Victoria experienced the same level of decrease, dropping to 6,000 businesses reporting irrigation, driven by a 5% decrease in the area under crop.
  • The Murray Darling Basin accounted for 57% of the nation's total water used for irrigation in 2015-16. Agricultural businesses in the Murray Darling Basin region used 4.9 million megalitres of water to irrigate 1.2 million hectares of crops and pastures during 2015-16. The area irrigated in the Murray Darling Basin account for 58% of the nation's total area watered.
  • While decreasing 23% in volume in 2015-16, water sourced from irrigation channels or pipelines remained the largest source of water for agricultural purposes, with 34% (or 3.1 million megalitres) of total water used coming from this source.