Environment Australia, 2000
About the publication
Australia is dry. Average rainfall at 469 mm/year is not very low, but only 12% of it runs off to collect in rivers. River flow is also highly variable and these factors are exacerbated by an uncertain climate.
Australia has 447 large dams that are able to supply 79 million ML (million litres) of water for mainly urban, irrigation and hydroelectric power users, and to provide flood mitigation. Australia also has several million farm dams (providing water to 9% of the total irrigated area) as well as the world 's largest aquifer system, the Great Artesian Basin.
Australia has 15 million ML of groundwater available for extraction each year.