Murray Darling Basin uses Majority of Australia’s Water

‘Just over half of Australia’s water use in 2004-05 was in the Murray-Darling Basin, according to a new report released by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS) today.
Water and the Murray-Darling Basin – A Statistical Profile draws together data from the ABS and other sources to paint a picture about this important region.
The Murray-Darling Basin is a region of Australian national significance. It covers 14% of Australia’s land area, contains Australia’s three longest rivers (the Darling, the Murray and the Murrumbidgee), and it is home to 10% of Australia’s population.Most (83%) of the water used in the Murray-Darling Basin was by agriculture, and this represented around 65% of Australia’s total agricultural water use.

Other key findings include:

  • 13% of water consumption in the Murray-Darling Basin was by the water supply industry (mostly lost in delivery systems), 2% by households, 1% by manufacturing and 2% by other industries.
  • The highest agricultural water users in the Basin were cotton (20%), dairy farming (17%), pasture for other livestock (17%) and rice (16%).
  • The Murray-Darling Basin generated $15 billion, or 39%, of Australia’s agricultural production.
  • The Murray-Darling Basin contained 65% of Australia’s irrigated land.
  • Over a third (38%) of Australia’s farmers reside in the Basin.’