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4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2011–12 Quality Declaration 
Latest ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 13/11/2013   
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INTRODUCTION AND MAIN FINDINGS


INTRODUCTION

This publication presents information on the supply and use of water in the Australian economy in 2011-12 in both physical (i.e. volumetric) and monetary terms. The focus of Water Account Australia (WAA) is on the interactions between users within the economy and the environment. The economy extracts water for consumption and production activities. The infrastructure to mobilise, store, treat, distribute and return water back to the environment forms part of the economy.

All data tables are supplied as downloaded documents and the national commentary is contained within this summary.

1.1 WATER SUPPLY IN THE AUSTRALIAN ECONOMY, 2011-12
Diagram: 1.1 Water supply diagram


Diagram 1.1 provides an overview of key data and sets out the scope of the Water Account Australia by presenting the flows of water within and between the economy.
MAIN FINDINGS

Physical Water Supply and Use
  • During 2011-12, 74,925 GL of water was extracted from the environment and used within the Australian economy, 4% higher than in 2010-11. Of this amount, around 15% (11,251 GL) was extracted by water providers while the remaining 85% (63,674 GL) was extracted directly by water users (mainly the Electricity and gas supply industry, which extracted 58,632 GL, mostly for hydro-electricity generation, which is a non-consumptive use).
  • Total water consumption by industries in 2011-12 was 14,303 GL, a 20% increase from 2010-11 when consumption was about 11,637 GL.
  • Total water consumption by households in 2011-12 was 1,715 GL, a 1% increase from 2010-11 when consumption was about 1,699 GL.
  • Total consumption of reuse water decreased by 35% from 2010-11 to 2011-12, from 351 GL to 227 GL.
  • 63,727 GL of water was returned to the environment in 2011-12 as regulated discharge, the majority (92% or 58,424 GL) was from hydro-electricity generation discharged as in-stream use.
  • The Agriculture industry consumed the largest volume of water with 9,418 GL, representing 59% of Australia's water consumption in 2011-12, followed by the Water supply and sewerage services industry (2,029 GL, 13% of the total consumption), Households (1,715 GL, 11%), Mining (677 GL, 4%) and Manufacturing (557 GL, 3%).
Graph Image for Water Consumption, by State and Territory

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Hunting and trapping and Support services. (b) Includes Sewerage and drainage services and Waste collection, treatment and disposal services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery. (c) Refer to Glossary "Other industries".

Source(s): Australia; New South Wales; Victoria; Queensland; South Australia; Western Australia; Tasmania; Northern Territory; Australian Capital Territory


Graph Image for Water Consumption, by Industry and Household

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Agriculture, forestry and fishing.;(b) Includes Sewerage and drainage services and Waste collection, treatment and disposal services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery.;(c) Refer to Glossary "other industries".

Source(s): Agriculture(a); Mining; Manufacturing; Electricity and gas supply; Water supply(b); Other(c); Household



Monetary Water Supply and Use
  • Total revenue from sales of water and related services by the Water supply and sewerage services industry was $15.7 billion in 2011-12, up by 12% from 2010-11 when it was about $14 billion.
  • Of the total revenue, almost $7 billion was generated from the sale of urban and rural distributed water, $6.4 billion from the provision of wastewater and sewerage services and $2.3 billion from the sale of bulk water.
  • Australian industries spent over $2.7 billion on distributed water in 2011-12, an increase of 13% from 2010-11 when the total spent was about $2.4 billion.
  • Households' expenditure on distributed water in 2011-12 increased by 13% from 2010-11 and was reported at $4.3 billion (61% of the total expenditure on distributed water for Australia), though households used only 1,584 GL, which was 16% of total net distributed water (i.e. excluding distribution losses).
  • The Agriculture industry spent $0.6 billion during the same period (9% of total expenditure) but used around two-thirds (66%) of total net distributed water. Expenditure by the industries other than Agriculture in 2011–12 was reported at $2.1 billion for 1,692 GL of distributed water. The variance in the patterns of expenditure on water observed between the Agriculture industry and other industries, including households, reflect the different costs of storage, treatment and delivery between categories of water used by urban and rural users.
  • The average price of distributed water in 2011-12 was $0.72/kL, down from $1.03/kL in 2010-11. This was mainly driven by the decrease in the price paid for distributed water by the Agriculture industry (-33%), while the average price paid by all other industries increased by 9%.
  • The average price paid by the Agriculture industry per kilolitre of distributed water in 2011-12 was $0.09; households paid $2.72 per kilolitre.
  • South Australian households paid the highest unit price for urban distributed water ($3.96 per kL) in 2011-12, followed by Queensland ($2.95 per kL) and ACT ($2.86 per kL).
  • South Australian households recorded the largest annual increase (28%) in the unit price compared with 2010-11, followed by Tasmania (22%) and Victoria (19%).
  • The graph below compares relative use of distributed water with relative expenditure on water from 2008-09 to 2011-12:
Graph Image for Distributed Water, Expenditure and Use

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Aquaculture, Hunting and trapping and Support services. (b) Includes Sewerage and drainage services and Waste collection, treatment and disposal services. Data includes water losses or water lost in the course of water delivery. (c) Refer to Glossary "Other industries".

Source(s): 2011-12; 2010-11; 2009-10; 2008-09

  • The industry gross value added (IGVA) per GL of water consumed in 2011-12 was $97 million, down 14% from 2010-11 when IGVA was $113 million per GL. IGVA for the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry during this period was $5 million per GL, down 16% from 2010-11 when IGVA was $6 million per GL.
  • A decrease (18%) in IGVA per GL was also noted in the Mining industry between 2010-11 and 2011-12 (from $243 million/GL to $198 million/GL) while the Manufacturing industry recorded a 14% increase (from $166 million/GL to $188 million/GL). IGVA per GL of water consumed by the Agriculture industry was down from $4 million/GL in 2010-11 to $3 million/GL in 2011-12.


Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage
  • A total volume of 74,925 GL was extracted directly from the environment in Australia in 2011-12. The industries that extracted the largest volumes of water were the Electricity and gas supply industry (78% or 58,632 GL, most of which was non-consumptive in-stream use for hydro-electricity generation) and the Water supply, sewerage and drainage services industry (15% or 11,148 GL, most of which was supplied to other users).
  • The Water supply industry supplied nearly all (99% or 11,148 GL) of the distributed water in Australia in 2011-12; 70% (about 8,000 GL) was supplied by irrigation/rural water suppliers.
  • Surface water was far by the greatest source of water for the Water supply industry with 10,662 GL (95% of total distributed water) in 2011-12; groundwater provided 437 GL (down from 454 GL in 2010-11) while desalination plants provided 151 GL (an increase of 25% from 2010-11 when it was 121 GL).
  • In 2011-12, the Agriculture industry received the largest share of distributed water with 6,241 GL (55% of total distributed water) while the Water supply industry consumed 1,962 GL (17% of the total distributed use), most of which was through losses to the distribution system. Households used 1,582 GL or 14% of the total distributed water.
  • About 227 GL of reuse water was distributed for consumptive purposes across Australia in 2011-12, down from 351 GL the previous year.
  • The total volume of regulated water discharged back to the environment in 2011-12 was 63,727 GL, of which 93% (59,301 GL) was by the Electricity and gas supply industry (via hydro-electricity generation) and 5% (3,127 GL) was by the Water supply industry (note that regulated discharge estimates exclude discharges by Agriculture and some other industries, as data was not available).
Graph Image for Distributed Water Use - Australia

Agriculture
  • Water consumption from all agricultural activities (i.e. by all businesses that conducted agricultural activity) was 9,860 GL in 2011-12, a 31% increase from 2010-11 when it was 7,551 GL.
  • Water consumption by the Agriculture industry (businesses whose primary activity is agriculture) was 9,418 GL in 2011-12, representing 96% of total agricultural water consumption (9,860 GL).
  • All agricultural activities accounted for 62% of total Australian water consumption in 2011-12, which was slightly more than 2010-11, when they accounted for 57%.
  • Consumption of reuse water by the Agriculture industry was down from 123 GL in 2010-11 to only 45 GL in 2011-12 (a 63% decrease).
  • Sheep, beef cattle and grain farming (3,961 GL or 42%) had the highest water consumption of all Agriculture industry groups in 2011-12, followed by Other crop growing (2,183 GL or 23%), Dairy cattle farming (1,378 GL or 15%) and Fruit and tree nut growing (1,240 GL or 13%).
  • The gross value of irrigated agricultural production was $13.5 billion in 2011-12, a 5% increase from $12.9 billion in 2010-11.
  • Cotton growing was the agricultural activity that consumed the greatest amount of water in 2011-12 (2,223 GL or 23% of agricultural activities), increasing by 18% from 2010-11 (1,882 GL). Rice farming was the second greatest consumer of water at 13% (1,276 GL) followed by dairy cattle grazing at 12% (1,225 GL), 'other' agricultural water use 9% (896 GL), fruit and nuts 8% (740 GL) and cereals for grain/seed 6% (628 GL).
  • The area of irrigated agricultural land in 2011-12 was over 2.1 million hectares, a 9% increase from 2010-11 when it was close to 2 million hectares. Irrigated land represented 0.5% of all agricultural land in 2011-12.
Graph Image for Water Consumption, Agriculture industry (a)

Footnote(s): (a) Includes Agriculture, forestry and fishing.

Source(s): Water Account, Australia


Graph Image for Area Irrigated, Australia

INQUIRIES

For further information about these and related statistics, contact the National Information and Referral Service on 1300 135 070.

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