Benchmarking Cotton Water Productivity

Improving water productivity is a high priority for Australian agriculture, particularly given increased pressure on available water supplies.

NSW Department of Primary Industries (DPI) is working with the Australian cotton industry to improve the improve the productive and sustainable use of available water.

This research, co-funded by DPI and the Cotton Research and Development Corporation, is exploring water productivity and sustainability gains achieved over the past two decades, while assisting growers in making water management decisions.

The latest results released in August 2022 have found:

  • water productivity in the Australian cotton industry has doubled over 24 years
  • the average water productivity in 2021 was 7% higher than the maximum achieved in 1998
  • the industry's water sustainability indicator has doubled since 1997, with half as much water used to produce a bale of cotton in 2021 compared to water use in 1997

Long term trends

Latest Results

This Primefact documents significant gains in water productivity and irrigation efficiency by Australian cotton growers.

YouTube videos

CottonInfo partnership resources

The DPI Water Research & Development team work closely with the cotton industry's CottonInfo organisation. CottonInfo has produced a range of resources highlighting our collaborative research into water productivity:

  • CottonInfo e-Newsletter article: Still on the Rise. CRDC and NSW DPI water productivity benchmarking results for the 2017-2018 irrigated cotton season show significant increases in water productivity.
  • Spotlight - Autumn 2020. The water productivity benchmarking project was featured on page 16 of the Cotton Research & Development Corporation's Spotlight Magazine.