Drought Conditions Affects Agricultural Water Use In 2017-18

Drought Conditions Affects Agricultural Water Use In 2017-18

Australian Bureau Of Statistics

Increased Agricultural Water Use In 2017-18

Victor P Taffa

Australian farms increased their water use in 2017-18, according to data released today by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS).

ABS Director of Agriculture Statistics, Lauren Binns, said changing water availability and poor forecasts for rain in many regions influenced farmer’s crop selection and water use decisions through the 2017-18 financial year.

 

“Volume of water used for irrigation was up 7 % to 9.7 Million megalitres (ML) in 2017-18. The total area of crops and pastures irrigated in 2017-18 also increased, up 2 % to 2.3 Million ha.” Ms. Binns said.

“Victoria saw both the largest increase in the volume of water applied as well as in the area irrigated; the volume of water applied increased 23 % to 2.2 Million ML and the area irrigated increased 19 % to 629,000 ha.”

Cotton continued to be the Australian crop on which the greatest volume of water is applied, accounting for 28 % of all water used for irrigation. The volume of water applied increased 7 % to 2.7 Million ML and the area irrigated increased 10 % to 359,000 ha.

Volume of water applied to pastures and cereals used to feed livestock increased 18 % to 1.8 Million ML. Reflecting the drier conditions, the area irrigated only increased 1 % to 604,000 ha. Victoria reported the largest area of irrigated pastures and cereals used to feed livestock at 326,000 ha.

In 2017-18, there was a 13 % increase in the number of agricultural businesses purchasing extra water on a temporary basis (this refers to extra water allocations that are purchased for a short period, rather than permanently). These businesses purchased 1.7 Million ML, at a cost of $201 Million.