Irrigation Facts

Thursday 28 May, 2009 – 21:27 by David Boyd

  • Irrigated agriculture contributes approximately 25 per cent of the gross value of Australian agricultural production, 3% of GDP, 22% of exports, but only uses 0.4 per cent of Australia’s farming area (Source: CSIRO, 2006)
  • Australia utilises about 8% of its available water for industry, agriculture and support of the population, with agriculture using about 65% of this, or less than 6% of Australia’s water (Source: National Land and Water Audit 1997 – 2002)
  • In their ‘natural’ state, the rivers located in the southern half of Australia experience more variable flows than virtually any other rivers in the world (Murray-Darling Basin Commission 2005)
  • Between 1885 and 1960, the Darling River stopped flowing at Menindee on 48 occasions – well before irrigation existed on the river or its tributaries (Australian Farm Institute).
  • Data shows that, due to water losses in the river system and the Menindee Lakes storages, for every megalitre of water that flows past Bourke only 0.3ML can be expected to appear as regulated flow in the Lower Darling or to contribute to flow in the Murray.

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