Accounting for water in our major urban areas

Map of Australia showing breakdown of water sources for 2016–17. Visit

Total water sources in the National Water Account urban regions for 2016–17

The major urban regions of our 2017 National Water Account are now available, along with an urban overview
Applying the rigour and principles of financial accounting to water resources, these reports give detailed insight into the water situation for AdelaideCanberraMelbournePerthSouth East Queensland and Sydney for the previous financial year.
This insight informs policy, planning and decision making by governments and industry.
Highlights in urban regions for the 2016–17 financial year include:
  • Urban region water supply was about 2,480 GL, similar to last year.
  • 15% increase in surface water supply to meet urban demand.
  • Less reliance on inter-region transfers to meet demand in Adelaide and Melbourne.
  • Desalinated water made up more than half of urban supply in Perth.
The ten National Water Account regions cover approximately 75 per cent of Australia’s population and 80 per cent of the country’s water use.
The northern region reports (Burdekin, Daly and Ord) were made available in December 2017. The Murray–Darling Basin, a Fitzroy (Queensland) pilot account, national summary and video will be available mid-year.
The National Water Account is prepared by the Bureau in partnership with State and Territory government agencies, water utilities and other organisations.