Australians Are Using Less Water But More Energy: Abs

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28th January 2010, 02:34pm - Views: 950

People Feature Australian Bureau Of Statistics 1 image

28 January, 2010

Embargoed 11.30 am Canberra Time


Australians are using less water but more energy: ABS

Australians are using less water but more energy, according to a new report released today from

the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS). 

Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends presents a snapshot of environmental issues affecting

Australia.  The 2010 edition also includes a feature article on the issue of climate change, and what

it means for Australia.

This edition highlights that water use by agriculture has fallen by almost half in two years, with the

biggest reductions occurring in New South Wales and Victoria, while the proportion of households

using water saving devices has doubled between 1994 and 2007.

Water storage levels in Australia’s 'food bowl', the Murray Darling Basin, were down to less than

one third of capacity at the end of October 2009.

While water consumption fell, energy use rose.  Australia's heavy reliance on fossil fuels,

especially for power generation, has seen greenhouse gas emissions in the energy sector rise by

almost one-half since 1990, however emissions per head of population fell by 12% over the same


The Northern Territory and Western Australia lead other states in solar hot water use (54% and

21%, respectively),

but overall, less than 10% of Australian homes were using solar hot water in


In 2008, only half (53%) of homes in New South Wales had insulation, compared to the national

average of just over 60% - but most people were insulating for comfort rather than to save energy. 

Australians are also living in larger homes with fewer people; this is increasing greenhouse

emissions from the electricity and gas used to build and run them.

Over three quarters of people use a private vehicle to travel to work, but the proportion using public

transport is slowly increasing.  

The biggest increases in public transport use have been recorded in Victoria and South Australia,

while New South Wales has fallen slightly.  

Australian transport and construction industries experienced the largest drop in energy intensity

(energy used per unit of economic output) down 49% and 74%, respectively over the 30 years to

2006-07, leading to a decrease of over a third for all Australian industries combined.  

Further details can be found in Australia's Environment: Issues and Trends 2010 (cat. no. 4613.0),


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Media note:

When reporting ABS data, the Australian Bureau of Statistics (or ABS) must be attributed as the


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