How much water have we used?

How much surface water have we used? How much groundwater? Recycled water? Who were the biggest users of water?

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Water use that is not for the environment is described as water consumption, or ‘consumptive use’.

Overall, the total available volume of Victoria’s surface water, groundwater and recycled water in 2017–18 was 15,351 gigalitres, less than half the amount available the previous year. Of this, 4,087 gigalitres was taken for consumptive uses.

There was 13,969 GL of surface water available in 2017-18, less than half the amount available the previous year of 30,907 GL.

The volume of water taken for consumptive use under surface water entitlements in 2017–18 was 3,550 GL, more than the 3,198 GL taken in 2016–17.

Irrigation continues to be the largest consumptive use of surface water in the state, making up 78% of all water taken.

In 2017–18, the total licensed entitlement of groundwater was 967 GL across the state. The total groundwater use, including domestic and stock use was 440 GL. This was more than the volume used in 2016–17 (352 GL).

A total of 475 GL of wastewater was produced in 2017–18, lower than the volume produced in 2016–17 (494 GL). However, the volume of wastewater recycled in 2017-18 increased from the previous year.

Water use in urban areas is usually measured by the metered volume of water delivered to customers – both households (residential use) and businesses (commercial use). While usage is slightly lower than the previous year, the proportions by type of user are very similar.

Desalinated water

The total volume delivered to 30 June 2018 was 15 gigalitres, representing 0.83% of Melbourne’s storage capacity. This is less than the 46.14 gigalitres (or 2.55%) delivered in 2016-17. Without the water delivered in 2016-17 and 2017-18 Melbourne’s storages would have finished the year at 55% in 2017-18.