Comparison between the 1985 and 2000 'snapshot' assessments is difficult. Factors include the time between assessments (more than 15 years); seasonality and variability of climate; significant potential for changes in land use; and fluctuations in domestic and global market demands.
Water Use, Climate and the Audit Baseline Year - 1996/97
The baseline year for the Audit is the 1996/97 agricultural year starting on the 1st April and ending on 31st of March. For water use the data was compiled for the period 1 July 1996 to 30 June 1997 (water calendar year). When it is necessary to collect information for more than one year, the data collected must cover that year or, alternatively, appropriately adjusted to provide a best estimate for that year.
For water use data States and Territories were requested to provide a 5 yearly average value based on the 1996/97 year. Use figures were adjusted in areas where, due to climatic conditions, the water use was not considered to be 'average'.
Climate in 1996/97
During 1996 there was a transition from the weak large-scale climate controls to a strong El Ni?o condition after March 1997. This resulted in a drying over a large part of southern and eastern Australia. From July until September 1996 Victoria had unusually cold and wet weather. The remainder of the southern half of Australia was also wet for three months. Significant areas in south-west Queensland, western and central New South Wales, South Australia, western Victoria, and southern Western Australia had rainfall totals within the highest 10% on record.
During the summer of 1996-97, there was a very active monsoonal season in the tropical zones in western Australia and the Northern Territory. However, this finished abruptly and early, as El Ni?o developed rapidly in autumn 1997. From October 1996 very dry conditions prevailed over most of Victoria, the grain belts of South Australia and north-east Tasmania. Areas of southern Victoria through to south-east South Australia had the driest October to June period on record.
May 1997 brought rain to southern Australia and average to above average rain to parts of Queensland. There was some relief to farmers from the dry and hot conditions over southern Australia in early 1997. In parts of southern Victoria and south-east South Australia the driest October to June period was reported. (ABS Water Account, 2000)
Climate in 1983/84 (Water Review 85)
Water use in any particular year is affected by weather conditions. For much of Australia, the period, July 1983 to June 1984, was equivalent to a normal year in which water use was about average. In south-east Australia, however, abnormal weather patterns were experienced. In general, rainfall totals throughout Victoria were high during the first half of the year but were lower than average in the second half. These weather conditions, along with a continuing sensitivity to water use following the 1982/83 drought, had a marked effect on water usage. Although the 1982/83 drought that affected most of Victoria was broken by above-average rains early in the year, water restrictions in many urban areas were not lifted until much later in the year. Urban water use was therefore less than average, due both to the heavy rains and to the continuance of water restrictions.
The above-average rains in the first half of 1983-84 greatly reduced irrigation demands, and by mid-season virtually unrestricted supplies of water were made available to farmers (for example, 200% of water rights in the Goulburn-Murray Irrigation District). The drier conditions in the latter half of the year somewhat compensated for this, but total usage for the year was generally far less than average.
Rural usage was also less than average, again due to the early wet conditions and sensitivity about excessive water use following the 1982-83 drought. (DPIE, 1987).
Note: The change in water use volume from 1985 to 1996 does not always reflect factors affecting consumption patterns and volumes such as population growth, industry or land-use change or operational improvements. The observed difference may partly be attributed to differences in the approach and assumptions used to estimate water use within the river basin.
Note: The total surface water use reported for each river basin does not include the water consumption of the eleven major cities. The data for cities and river basins are reported in the State totals.
Table: Surface water diversion and allocation 1996-97
Note: Allocation is not based on 1999-2000 estimates; Diversion based on five-yearly average 1996-97.
Note: In the table above, the total surface water use reported for each river basin does not include the water consumption of the eleven major cities. The data for cities are reported in the State totals. The volume diverted is the total volume of the SWMA's surface water resources diverted for use both within the management area and for export to other management area.
The volume of water allocated for use in Queensland is 3,072 GL annually. In addition to this considerable water is extracted by water harvesting.
Allocations are generally made in three ways.
- Water on regulated streams is allocated on a volumetric basis.
- Water on unregulated streams is allocated on a right to irrigate a defined area.
- Water Harvesting is regulated by defined streamflow conditions.
Water use on regulated streams and for some water harvesting is metered. All other water use and allocations have been estimated.
Some major water users have their allocations defined by an Order in Council or a Government Act.
The major water users in the State are on rivers flowing to the eastern coast. There is considerable water use in the Condamine and Border Rivers Basins, which flow into the Murray Darling Division. The State Government has developed a number of major irrigation areas throughout the State.
Although there is a high mean annual flow into the Gulf of Carpentaria, there is very little use due to the isolation of this region.
Please note: The tables set out below detailing Level 1 and Level 2 water use categories. The sum of the Level 2 water use volumes will not necessarily equal the total Level 1 water use volumes. This is primarily due to lack of more detailed water use data. However, where Level 2 use = Level 1 use then blank cells in the table does not indicate water use unaccounted for in these categories.
Table: Surface water use in Queensland 1996-97
|Basin/SWMA Name||Irrigation (GL/yr)||Rural (GL/yr)||Urban / Industrial (GL/yr)||Total (GL/yr)||In-situ (GL/yr)|
|Albert River||15||no data||2||16||no data|
|Archer River||1||no data||1||1||no data|
|Baffle Creek||8||1||1||8||no data|
|Balonne / Condamine||3||no data||1||3||no data|
|Barker / Barambah||27||no data||2||29||no data|
|Barratta||12||no data||no data||12||no data|
|Belyando / Suttor||79||1||6||84||no data|
|Black River||8||1||5||13||no data|
|Bokhara River - Distributary Area (Qld)||108||1||1||109||no data|
|Bowen / Broken||9||1||3||11||no data|
|Boyne River||2||no data||43||44||no data|
|Brisbane River||15||no data||217||231||no data|
|Bulloo River (Qld)||1||1||1||1||no data|
|Bundaberg Irrigation Area||128||4||5||136||no data|
|Burdekin River||483||1||8||491||no data|
|Burrum River||1||no data||6||7||no data|
|Callide||4||no data||20||23||no data|
|Calliope River||4||1||1||4||no data|
|Cooper Creek (Qld)||6||no data||2||7||no data|
|Daintree River||2||1||1||2||no data|
|Dawson River||54||no data||1||55||no data|
|Diamantina River (Qld)||no data||1||no data||1||no data|
|Don River||5||2||4||10||no data|
|Ducie River||no data||no data||1||1||no data|
|Elliott||7||no data||no data||7||no data|
|Endeavour River||1||1||2||2||no data|
|Fitzroy River (Qld)||23||1||41||63||no data|
|Flinders River||7||no data||1||8||no data|
|Georgina River (Qld)||1||no data||1||1||no data|
|Gilbert River||2||no data||5||7||no data|
|Gregory||8||no data||1||8||no data|
|Haughton River||4||no data||1||4||no data|
|Herbert River||46||2||2||50||no data|
|Hinchinbrook Island||no data||no data||1||1||no data|
|Isis||2||1||no data||2||no data|
|Jardine River||1||no data||no data||1||no data|
|Jeannie River||no data||1||no data||1||no data|
|Johnstone River||1||1||11||11||no data|
|Kolan River||39||no data||1||39||no data|
|Leichhardt River||2||1||20||21||no data|
|Lockyer River||13||no data||no data||13||no data|
|Logan River||23||1||17||39||no data|
|Macintyre / Dumaresq Rivers||88||1||2||90||no data|
|Macintyre Brook||5||1||1||5||no data|
|Maranoa||1||no data||no data||1||no data|
|Maroochy River||7||1||26||33||no data|
|Mary River (Qld)||62||1||20||81||no data|
|Mitchell River (WA)||55||1||1||56||no data|
|Moonie River (Qld)||1||1||1||2||no data|
|Mornington Island||no data||no data||1||1||no data|
|Mossman River||4||no data||1||4||no data|
|Mulgrave River||no data||no data||9||9||no data|
|Murray River (Qld)||1||no data||2||2||no data|
|Nicholson River (Qld)||1||1||1||2||no data|
|Nogoa / Mackenzie||132||1||16||149||no data|
|Noosa River||5||1||30||34||no data|
|Norman River||1||no data||2||2||no data|
|Normanby River||2||1||no data||2||no data|
|O'Connell River||15||1||1||17||no data|
|Paroo River (Qld)||1||1||1||1||no data|
|Pine River||4||2||67||72||no data|
|Pioneer River||9||1||12||21||no data|
|Plane Creek||38||no data||1||39||no data|
|Proserpine River||19||no data||3||22||no data|
|Ross River||1||1||46||47||no data|
|Russell River||no data||no data||2||2||no data|
|South Coast||no data||no data||48||48||no data|
|St George||201||no data||2||202||no data|
|Stradbroke Island||no data||no data||32||32||no data|
|Styx River||2||no data||1||2||no data|
|Three Moon Creek||2||no data||1||2||no data|
|Thursday Island||no data||no data||2||2||no data|
|Tully River||no data||1||2||2||no data|
|Upper Burnett River||23||no data||2||25||no data|
|Upper Condamine River||91||no data||2||92||no data|
|Wallum / Nebine / Mungallala (Qld)||110||no data||1||110||no data|
|Warrego River (Qld)||108||4||2||113||no data|
|Water Park Creek||2||no data||12||14||no data|
|Whitsunday Island||no data||no data||1||1||no data|
Current use data for the Queensland groundwater resource indicates that 14% of GMUs have category 1 abstraction status. Those with moderate abstraction levels account for 12% and those with category 3 and 4 abstraction status represent 22% and 33% of GMUs respectively. The remaining 19% of GMUs are without current use data.
"GMU"=Groundwater Management Unit "UA"=Unallocated Area
|Province||Use in 1983-84 (GL /yr)||Use in 1996-97 (GL /yr)||% change||Current Alloc (GL/yr)||Current Use : Alloc (%)||GMU / UA|
|Queensland||1,195||1,623||36||no data||no data||GMU|
|no data||no data||UA|
|Coen||0||no data||no data||no data||no data||GMU|
|Georgina||no data||59||no data||no data||no data||GMU|
|Great Artesian||no data||818||818||1,017||81||GMU|
|no data||no data||UA|
|Laura||1||no data||no data||no data||no data||GMU|
Table: Groundwater use in Queensland 1996-97
|Province||Irrigation (GL/yr)||Rural (GL/yr)||Urban / industry (GL/yr)||In-situ (GL/yr)||Total (GL/yr)||SY (GL/yr)|
|Coen||no data||no data||no data||0||no data|
|Laura||no data||no data||no data||0||no data|
|Mt Isa-Cloncurry||no data||no data||no data||0||no data|
Potential for joint groundwater and surface water use in Queensland required that there be known or estimated use of both groundwater and surface water within an SWMA. Overlapping groundwater and surface water use data was identified in 85 of 99 Queensland SWMAs which contain, or partially contain, one or more Groundwater Management Unit's. As each of these has overlap of Surface Water and Groundwater Management Areas/Units it is considered that they each possess potential for joint use.
Significant groundwater recharge works have been installed on Cressbrook Creek (SWMA143.A), Lockyer Creek and tributaries (SWMA 143.B), Three Moon Creek (SWMA 136.D), Lower Burdekin (SWMA 120.A) and Callide Creek (SWMA 130.D).
- Queensland Water Resources Assessment 2000 Report
- Queensland Water Resources Assessment 2000 Technical Report
- Link to data available for download on the:
- Link to the Map Maker to make a map using this information.
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