Water availability

Water availability is one of the three headline parameters that are reported in AWR 2005. The objective is to provide answers to key questions of water availability:

  • How much water does Australia's systems have?
  • When does it become available?
  • How much water do we store?
  • What is the variability of our water resources between years?
  • What are the connections between resources?

This section of the assessment provides high-level management information relating to water availability for each state and territory in Australia. The assessment was prepared with significant consultation with state and territory agencies. It also used existing data that were collected under draft water availability performance indicators that were developed for agreed water availability objectives (Paragraph 23 of the Intergovernmental Agreement on a National Water Initiative (NWI)):

Water is the lifeblood of all Australians
Water is the lifeblood of all Australians
Image by Arthur Mostead, sourced from the Murray-Darling Basin Commission
  • Objective (iv) complete the return of all currently overallocated or overused systems to environmentally sustainable levels of extraction. Identification of overallocated or overused systems
  • Objective (viii) policy settings that facilitate water use efficiency and innovation in urban and rural areas
  • Objective (x) recognise the connectivity between surface and groundwater resources and connected systems so they can be managed as a single resource

During the compilation of this information, each state and territory was requested to provide data that would be compiled into performance indicators and used to report on the achievement of particular actions.

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The following sections of this assessment summarise the state and territory responses to surface water and groundwater data that were requested for each water management area:

  • What is our total water resource
    • Information about the total water resource, rainfall distribution, temperature, evapotranspiration, runoff, groundwater recharge, water storage, intercepting activities, alternative water sources
  • Water balance assessments
    • key volumetric parameters are presented as a water balance, allowing assessment and comparison of values across and between geographic areas
  • Water management
    • water management areas with and without surface water management plans and the status of those plans
    • the extent to, and manner in which groundwater was taken into account in those surface water management plans
    • groundwater management units with and without groundwater management water plans and the status of those plans
    • the extent to, and manner in which, surface water was taken into account in those groundwater management plans
  • Water resources caps
    • water management areas, both surface and groundwater, in which water abstraction has been capped and what this means, including discussion of types of water use within capped areas to which a cap does not apply
  • Resource sustainability
    • water management areas, both surface and groundwater, for which the sustainable yield has been determined, and a comparison of the level of entitlement relative to the sustainable yield
  • Surface water and groundwater interaction (conjunctive management of surface and groundwater)
    • responses from surface and groundwater managers on the level of integration of the management of surface and groundwater management
  • Water diversions and extractions
    • information on volumes of water diversions (from surface water) and abstractions (from groundwater) together with information on the source of this data, which allows an assessment of its accuracy to be made
  • Water entitlements
    • Information on types of water use that are not regulated by entitlements


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Last Updated 06/06/2007