Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

Senator the Hon. Simon Birmingham

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment

National snapshot of Australia's water resources released today

Media release
7 October 2013

The Bureau of Meteorology has released its latest Australian Water Resources Assessment today. The report provides a high-quality, nationally consistent picture of Australia's water resources.

Parliamentary Secretary to the Minister for the Environment Simon Birmingham said the Australian Water Resources Assessment 2012 clearly identifies trends and variability in Australian water resources, providing an essential tool for better water resource management.

“This scientifically robust report is an important record of the extent and magnitude of Australia's water resources. It is an essential resource for government policy-makers, and can also be used by the private sector in long-term planning,” said Senator Birmingham.

Among the highlights in the report:

  • The Australian climate during 2011-12 was characterised by a moderately strong La Nina event, and as a result total annual rainfall recorded was 33 per cent above the long-term 1911-2012 average.
  • Wet soil conditions continued throughout most of the country, except in the southwest of Western Australia, where soils were dry, and well below long-term soil moisture averages.
  • Major water storage volumes increased from 75 to 83 per cent by June 2012.
  • Water storage increases were particularly significant in the Murray-Darling Basin, Tasmania and in storages supplying drinking water to Sydney.
  • Urban water use in 2011-12 has remained at a consistent level. Total urban water use of 1,530 gigalitres represented a rise of 1 per cent from 1,513 gigalitres in the year 2010-11.
  • The Australian Water Resources Assessment 2012 is the second report of this kind, following release of the first assessment in 2010. It is published by the Bureau of Meteorology under a statutory obligation in the Water Act 2007 (Cth).

To access the report: www.bom.gov.au/water/awra/2012 

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