Infrastructure Australia’s audit of the nation’s requirements highlights water as a key pressure point arising from the 24% projected increase in Australia’s population to 31.4 million people by 2031:
Population growth is ramping up pressure on limited water supplies
While climate change is tightening water supplies in many parts of the country, our population has grown rapidly, with growth concentrated in urban areas. This trend is likely to continue, with the population of all capitals projected to grow faster than the balance of their respective state or territory.40 Impacts will be felt most in the south-eastern regions, where the joint factors of population growth and climate change are expected to be most pronounced.
Water planning on the basis of long-term population growth projections is problematic, with the growth of our major cities consistently underestimated. Analysis by the water industry in 2010 projected that water consumption in Australia’s six largest cities would increase 39% by 2026 and 64% by 2056 – a total increase of around 1,000 gigalitres each year.41 However, these estimates were based on population projections that were on average 18% lower than the most recent estimates by the Australian Bureau of Statistics (ABS)…
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