National Water Account 2018

        

Urban regions: Overview

  • Dry conditions were experienced in most urban regions.
  • End of year storage volumes in Melbourne and Sydney were the lowest since 2010.
  • Urban region water supply was about 2,600 GL, almost 5% more than last year.
  • Information on urban water providers is available in the Bureau's National Performance Report 2017–18.

 

Climate and Water

Rainfall across Australia during July 2017–June 2018 compared with historical records (1911–2017)

Rainfall across Australia during July 2017–June 2018 compared with historical records (1911–2017)

 

  • Fewer low pressure systems and cold fronts across southeastern Australia during the year resulted in below-average annual rainfall across the Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney regions.
  • Annual rainfall in some parts of the Sydney region was the lowest on record.
  • In contrast, annual rainfall in Perth was average and the highest in six years.

 

Percentage-full volume during 1 July 2015–30 June 2018 for urban region storages

Percentage-full volume during 1 July 2015–30 June 2018 for urban region storages

 

  • Below-average rainfall across southeastern Australia meant storage volumes in the Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney regions decreased from last year. End of year storages in Melbourne and Sydney were the lowest since 2010.
  • In Perth, storage volumes increased during the year due to a combination of improved rainfall conditions and reduced diversions for urban supply compared to previous years. The end of year storage of 45% full was the highest in more than 20 years.
  • Despite below-average rainfall for most of the year in South East Queensland, storage volumes increased due to high inflows resulting from rainfall events in late-February 2018.

 

Water availability

Water allocations and abstractions in the urban regions for 2017–18

Water allocations and abstractions in the urban regions for 2017–18

 

  • Total water allocations of 3,518,200 ML were similar to the previous year.
  • 65% of allocated water was used, compared to 63% last year.
  • The increase in allocated water use reflects the drier conditions across most of the urban regions, particularly in southeastern Australia, compared with last year.

 

Water sources and supply

Total water sourced in the urban regions for 2017–18

Total water sourced in the urban regions for 2017–18

 

  • Total water sourced by the urban regions was 2,598,200 ML.
  • Surface water made up 62% of total water supply and was the predominant source of water in all urban regions except for Perth.
  • In Melbourne, a reduction in desalinated water production compared to last year meant inter-region supply from Thomson Reservoir increased.

 

Users of water in the urban regions for 2017–18

Users of water in the urban regions for 2017–18

 

  • 73% of total water supply was used for the urban water system.
  • Individual users, including the industrial, commercial and agricultural sectors, accounted for 24% of water supplied.
  • In contrast to other urban regions, more than half of Perth’s water supply was for individual users, primarily for agricultural use.

 

Urban water use

Urban system water sources and volumes for years 30 June 2012–30 June 2018

Urban system water sources and volumes for years 30 June 2012–30 June 2018

 

  • Water sourced for the urban systems in Adelaide, Canberra, Melbourne, and Sydney was 5–9% higher than last year. This increase was influenced by the drier conditions across southeastern Australia.
  • In Adelaide, the decrease in surface water availability meant more inter-region transfers from the River Murray were required to meet urban demand.
  • In Perth, desalinated water and groundwater continued to underpin urban water supply.
  • Desalinated water production continued at Melbourne's Wonthaggi Desalination Plant but contributed less to urban demand than last year.