Accounting for water around Australia

Following extensive analysis, the final region of the National Water Account 2016, the Murray–Darling Basin report is now available, along with a national overview and video summarising the 2015–16 account.
 
The National Water Account gives detailed insight into Australia's water situation for the previous financial year across ten nationally significant water-use regions.
 
Key national findings for 2015–16
  • Below-average annual rainfall was observed across most of Australia, influenced by strong El Niño conditions.
  • Due to the dry conditions inflows into storages were less than previous years in many regions across the country. This was particularly so in the urban regions of Perth, Adelaide and Melbourne.
  • Sydney and Canberra water storage levels increased above the previous year due to rainfall associated with an East Coast Low in early June 2016.
  • Total water allocated was 17,542,600 ML. Of that allocation, 63 per cent was taken from our waterways and storages.
  • Total water sourced across the regions was 12,850,400 ML. This was less than the previous year due to the dry conditions.
  • Among the ten regions, 70 per cent of water was used in the Murray–Darling Basin, mostly for agriculture purposes. Urban regions used about 18 per cent and about 1,285,000 ML of water was released for environmental purposes.


Murray–Darling Basin region key findings for 2015–16

  • Storage volumes dropped from 42 to 39 per cent, the fourth successive annual decrease since 2012.
  • Total water allocation was 12,243,162 ML for the Basin—seven per cent less than the previous year. Of that allocation, 65 per cent was taken.
  • Approximately 80 per cent of total water supply was mainly used by individuals for irrigation purposes. Water held for environmental purposes accounted for a further 15 per cent; a large proportion of this was in the River Murray in South Australia.
  • The Murray–Darling Basin accounted for more than 95 per cent of surface water entitlement trade and almost all of the allocation trade reported in the National Water Account. The volume of trade in surface water allocations in the region was 5,347,000 ML, a decrease of five per cent from last year.
We'd like to thank the many collaborators who help us prepare the National Water Account, including State and Territory governments, agencies, water utilities and other water organisations.