Independent News For The Australian Public Service
Edition Number 417. Updated Tuesday, 08 July 2014

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Bureau releases water update

The Bureau of Meteorology (BoM) has released the National Water Account 2013 Summary.

Water Information Services Acting Branch Head at BoM, Grace Mitchell said drier conditions contributed to reduced inflows to storages and higher water use across much of Australia in the 2012-13 year covered by the report.

"The National Water Account Summary shows that total water use increased by 35 per cent in 2012-13 compared to the previous year," Dr Mitchell said.

"This increase was largely in agriculture and was due to a relative abundance of water and lower rainfall compared to the previous year 2011-12, which was wetter than average."

Dr Mitchell said the delivery of the yearly account was a key part of the Council of Australian Governments' National Water Initiative.

National storages fall further

"It assists in water policy and management decisions and increases public and investor confidence in our management of this essential resource for the long term," she said.

The nine regions currently covered in the Account are home to about 80 per cent of Australia's population and represent 70-80 per cent of total water use.

It brings together data from more than 51 water agencies and partners to provide the most comprehensive water information report available in Australia.

Dr Mitchell said surface water storage volumes fell during 2012-13, from 93 per cent of capacity at the start of the year to 75 per cent at year end.

"We also know that national storage volumes have since fallen further and are now at 63 per cent."

Dr Mitchell said while the National Water Account build a comprehensive record over time, the Bureau's Water Storage iPhone application and website provided daily information on water storage volume at state, catchment and reservoir levels.

The National Water Account Summary is part of the Bureau's National Water Account, comprising nine regional reports.

The 2012-13 Account marks the fourth account in the series.

The National Water Account 2013 Summary can be viewed at this PS News link.

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