CSIRO's Water Book

Water: Science and Solutions for Australia provides information on the status of Australia’s water resources and their future prospects, the many values we hold for water, and the potential for using water more effectively to meet the growing demands of cities, farmers, industries, and the environment. Available for free download in multiple formats.

  • About the book

    Information about what's in CSIRO's Water Book, its intended readership and options for downloading a copy.

  • Foreword

    The Water Book Foreword by Megan Clark and Andrew Johnson.

  • Introduction

    Around the world, access to water has always been a key determinant of how and where human populations have flourished. Australia is no different.

  • Chapter 1: Current water availability and use

    Overall, Australia has sufficient water resources to support its current uses, consuming six per cent of renewable water resources each year.

  • Chapter 2: Water values

    As a society, Australians value water highly for a range of economic, environmental, social, and cultural benefits, which at times are in conflict with each other.

  • Chapter 3: Water and climate

    Floods, droughts, and climate change are the three most important influences of climate on Australia’s water resources.

  • Chapter 4: Groundwater

    Groundwater use is increasing and it is the main source of water for much of Australia’s dry interior.

  • Chapter 5: Water quality

    Strict water quality controls are in place to protect human health and aquatic ecosystems from chemical and biological pollutants.

  • Chapter 6: Urban water sustainability

    An extra 10 to 20 million people could be living in Australian cities by 2050, requiring more water supplies, more wastewater disposal, and greater energy use to provide these services.

  • Chapter 7: Future urban water supplies

    Australia’s largest cities are forecast to require 1150 GL/year (or 73 per cent) above the current supply of 1505 GL/year by 2050. In addition, current supplies will probably reduce as a result of climate change, requiring additional augmentation.

  • Chapter 8: Irrigation

    Irrigated agriculture is productive and profitable, generating 50 per cent of all agricultural profit from just 0.5 per cent of agricultural land.

  • Chapter 9: Water for the environment

    Aquatic and water-dependent ecosystems require surface water flows or access to ground water to survive. They include Australia’s highly valued rivers, lakes, floodplains, wetlands, and estuaries.

  • Chapter 10: Water in mining and industry

    Mining, manufacturing, and other industries use about 20 per cent of all water consumed in Australia. They use water in cities and in some fully or over-allocated rural systems, placing them under the same pressures as other users to use water more efficiently.

  • Chapter 11: Conclusions

    There is a high level of expectation of benefits from water resources across a wide spectrum of economic, social, and environmental values.


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