Australian Water Resources Assessment 2012 released
The Bureau of Meteorology has published its second Australian water resources assessment. This report will assist all Australians, particularly policymakers and planners, to understand the current state of the nation’s water resources and enable identification of existing and future water management challenges. The 2012 Assessment is a report of the extent and magnitude of Australia’s water resources in 2011–12 in the context of the long-term record. The report includes a national overview and an analysis of conditions across 13 reporting regions. It presents comprehensive information on the nation’s surface water resources, key urban and rural water use information and some information on groundwater resources.
The Australian Water Resources Assessment 2012 is another milestone achievement of the Australian Government’s Improving Water Information Program. Key findings of the 2012 Assessment are presented in a summary report. A technical supplement provides additional detail on the data selection, analysis and water balance modelling techniques and their level of peer review and acceptance. The 2012 Assessment is the second in a regular series that started with the 2010 Assessment.
Key findings from the 2012 Assessment:
- Total annual rainfall was 33% above the long-term 1911–2012 average; evapotranspiration was 30% above the long-term average; and landscape water yield was 57% above the long-term average.
- Wet soil moisture conditions prevailed throughout most of the country except for the South West Coast region where soils were dry and remained far below long-term average levels.
- The substantially higher landscape water yield contributed to above average streamflow in large parts of the country, causing the total water stored in major reservoirs to increase from 75% at the end of 2010–11 to 83% of their total accessible capacity on 30 June 2012. The increase is largely due to storage volume increases in the Tasmania and Murray–Darling Basin regions.
- Rising trends in groundwater levels were present in most of the selected aquifers within the North East Coast, South East Coast (Victoria) and Murray–Darling Basin regions, reflecting the higher recharge to groundwater.
- Urban water consumption in 2011–12 remained consistent with that of the previous year for Australia’s State and Territory capitals. Total urban water use in 2011–12 was 1,530 GL, a rise of just 1% from 1,513 GL in 2010–11.