Climate Resilient Water Sources

Please upgrade your browser

Expand all / Collapse all

What are climate resilient water sources?

Climate resilient water sources are those sources of water on which climate variability, such as variation in rainfall and temperature, has little or no influence.

The climate resilient water sources dataset provides information on two of the most significant climate resilient water sources, desalination and water recycling.

Desalinated water is water sourced from desalination processes and is not confined to marine desalination.

Recycled water is treated sewage effluent, including water from sewer mining. It may be potable or non-potable and excludes urban stormwater.

Why doesn't the dataset include stormwater or other non-traditional water sources?

The decision to exclude stormwater and other non-traditional water sources from the initial climate resilient water sources stocktake was made in conjunction with industry experts.

To be considered climate resilient, many non-traditional water sources, such as stormwater, require significant storage to buffer supplies against variations in climate.

It is recognised that using these sources instead of traditional surface and groundwater supplies does decrease the rate of drawdown of these resources and can therefore help provide increased water security during periods of low rainfall and drought.

In light of this the Bureau will evaluate the benefit of extending this data to include other water sources such as storm and roof water.

How has the climate resilient water source data set been collected?

The climate resilient water sources dataset is provided by site owners and operators as well as publically available information. CSIRO did an initial stocktake of plants with production capacities greater than 50 ML per year. This information forms the basis for the dataset.

The Bureau in partnership with a range of data providers continues to collect and refine this dataset to improve our understanding of the role climate resilient water resources play in the Australian water resource landscape.

Why does the number of plants on the National overview page differ from that on the Site explorer?

A number of plants in the dataset include data that were deemed by providers to be commercial-in-confidence. Where this information includes specific site locations it is excluded from the site map page. As the National overview provides National and State level aggregations of data this is where these plants are typically included.

Why are climate resilient water sources important?

Changing climatic patterns and the severity and duration of the drought that impacted many of the major Australian population centres from the late 1990s to 2010 has led to significant investment in water security initiatives including the development of climate resilient water sources.

How does this dataset compare to other data on climate resilient water sources?

Climate Resilient Water Sources provides a portal through which a nationally consistent dataset can capture both publicly and privately owned and/or operated plants and their contribution to Australia's water resource landscape. The data set currently contains 491 plants.

While reports such as the National Water Account and the Urban National Performance Report provide some insights into the role of climate resilient water sources they are limited in their coverage. The National Water Account draws together data from publicly owned and operated recycling and desalination assets located within the account regions including Adelaide Melbourne, Perth, ACT, Sydney and South East Queensland. The Urban National Performance report captures recycled and desalinated water supply for 78 State and Territory agencies.

How often will the data and information on the website be updated?

The Bureau will publish annual updates of the dataset based on:

  • publicly available information
  • information gathered through data sharing arrangements with State agencies, and
  • updates submitted by plant owners and operators.

The Bureau will continue to explore data sharing arrangements to support expansion of the dataset and improved data coverage for existing sites. Corrections to the dataset will be published on an as needs basis commensurate with the significance of the change.

What does production capacity refer to?
Production capacity refers to the maximum volume of water a site could produce if operating at full capacity.
How are total production capacity values calculated?

Total production capacity values are calculated as the sum of known production capacities for the selected plants that were commissioned on or before the 31 December of the financial year for which data is presented. Plants with unknown commissioning dates are also included.

For example the production capacity for 2012–13 includes all plants with a year of commissioning of 31 December 2012 or earlier; as well as those for which a commissioning date is not known.

What is the annual production volume of recycled water?

The annual production volume of recycled water includes reported recycled water distributed and supplied for use. Recycled water produced but not used and instead sent for disposal has not been included in this volume. The annual production volume does not include recirculation of recycled water within the treatment plant process.

What is the annual production volume of desalinated water?

The annual production volume of desalinated water is the metered outflow of treated/desalinated water from the plant.

How are total production volumes calculated?

Total production volumes are calculated as the sum of known production volumes for the selected plants for the financial year for which data is presented.

For example the 2012–13 total production volume for all plants is the sum of all known production volumes from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013.

How are end use breakdowns calculated?

End use breakdowns are calculated based on the best available information. Where a production volume is known but no end use data is available, we apply the last available end use breakdown to assign production volumes.

Why is a production capacity or annual production volume not reported for some sites?

The climate resilient water sources data set has endeavoured to collect the most up-to-date set of information. Despite this effort, gaps remain in instances where i.) plant information has been provided on the understanding that some parameters are commercial-in-confidence and ii.) where data was not available at the time of collection. In the latter case there will be ongoing work to continue to improve the data set and address, where possible, any gaps in the data.

What do the different Water Use types refer to?
  • Urban use refers to multiple end uses (residential, domestic, commercial, industrial, municipal).
  • Environment and Irrigation use refers to any recycled or desalinated water used for environmental and irrigation purposes including agricultural irrigation, woodlots, wetlands and maintaining environmental flows.
  • Not specified use refers to volumes of recycled and desalinated water where a specific end user was not specified. For further information on a particular site refer to the data download tool.
Where can I submit feedback?

To leave a comment or provide feedback please contact the Bureau's urban water unit or submit your feedback through the Bureau's feedback page.

Creative Commons By Attribution logo
Unless otherwise noted, all material on this page is licensed under the Creative Commons Attribution Australia Licence. Use of the material is subject to conditions contained in the Bureau's Copyright Notice and Disclaimer statements.