Australians splash out on water

OVER the four years between 1993-94 and 1996-97 Australian water consumption rose 19 per cent from 18,575 gigalitres to 22,186Gl according to the Australian Bureau of Statistics as reported in the Water Account for Australia.

The majority of the rise – about 3,434Gl – was accounted for by the agriculture sector, with a significant increase in water usage within the livestock, pasture, and grains and, to a lesser extent, the cotton and rice industries.

Net water consumption per capita for Australia from 1993-94 to 1996-97 varied from 1.04 megalitres to 1.20Ml per person, with a mean water use of 1.12 million litres.

Mean household water use varied from 282 kilolitres a year in 1993-94 to 294kl in 1996-97.

Mean water use per household was highest in the NT with use of 500kl a year.

Queensland was next, using 340kl a year, followed by WA with 320kl a year.

Tasmania had the lowest mean household water usage of 176kl a year.

In 1996-97, livestock, pasture, grains and other agriculture

consumed 8,795Gl of water. The household sector was the next largest user, with water use for 1996-97 totalling 1,829Gl or 8.2 per cent of total net consumption.

The vegetable and fruit industries returned the highest gross value per megalitre of water used for irrigated agriculture, with $1,760/Ml and $1,460/Ml respectively. Rice growing resulted in the lowest return with only $189/Ml used.

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