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1301.0 - Year Book Australia, 2009–10  
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Contents >> Environment >> Household water use and conservation

HOUSEHOLD WATER USE AND CONSERVATION

Households accounted for 11% of the total water consumed in Australia in 2004-05 while agriculture accounted for 65% (ABS, 2004-05).

Water supply and use needs to be understood in the context of Australia's climate which is characterised by highly variable rainfall between regions, seasons and year-to-year. Since 2002, many parts of Australia have been subject to mandatory water restrictions in response to low water availability due to drought. As urban populations grow, there is added pressure on existing water supplies.

Increasing numbers of households have installed water conserving devices, including dual-flush toilets and reduced-flow shower heads. In 2007, 81% of households had at least one dual-flush toilet, up from 64% in 2001. At least one water-efficient shower head was installed in the dwellings of more than half of Australian households (55%), up from 35% in 2001 (graph 2.19).

2.19 HOUSEHOLDS WITH WATER CONSERVATION DEVICES
Graph: 2.19 HOUSEHOLDS WITH WATER CONSERVATION DEVICES


2.20 SOURCES OF WATER FOR HOUSEHOLDS: 2007
Graph: 2.20 SOURCES OF WATER FOR HOUSEHOLDS: 2007


The most common source of water for Australian households is mains water (graph 2.20). The percentage of Australian households (93%) that sourced their water from the mains/town supply has remained steady between 1994 and 2007. Nearly all (99%) of households in capital cities were connected to mains/town water in 2007, compared with 85% of households outside the capital cities.

Although the majority of Australian dwellings have mains/town water supply, other households rely on rainwater tanks, bores or wells and water from rivers, creeks and dams. Some households supplement their water supply by collecting water (in containers other than tanks) or by using grey water.

A substantial proportion of Australian households collected grey water for reuse inside and outside the dwelling. Almost one-quarter (24%) of Australian households reported collecting grey water in the laundry, 19% in the bathroom and 13% in the kitchen (graph 2.21).

2.21 Where households reported collecting grey water: 2007
Graph: 2.21 Where households reported collecting grey water: 2007


More than one-fifth (21%) of all households reported that their dwelling had a rainwater tank (graph 2.22). A greater proportion of dwellings in areas outside capital cities had a rainwater tank (35%) compared to those in capital cities (12%).

2.22 dwellings with rainwater tanks installed: 2007
Graph: 2.22 dwellings with rainwater tanks installed: 2007


Saving water was the main reason (42%) reported by Australian households for why they had installed a rainwater tank. Other reasons for installing a rainwater tank were 'not connected to mains or town water' (27%) and 'concerns about the quality of other sources of water or they prefer rain water' (20%).

Purchased bottled water was reported as a source of water by about one-fifth (19%) of households. The proportion of households reporting purchased bottled water as a source rose steadily from 3% in 1994 to 21% in 2004, but then fell to 19% in 2007 (graph 2.23).

2.23 Purchased Bottle Water as a source of water: 1994 to 2007
Graph: 2.23 Purchased Bottle Water as a source of water: 1994 to 2007







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