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About the 2010 Account


The National Water Account 2010 presents a set of water accounting reports. Each contains:

  • contextual information for the region such as its location, physical features and water resource management arrangements
  • a set of three water accounting statements, structured like financial statements
  • detailed notes on the data used to populate these water accounting statements, as well as:
    • reconciliations of some of the data in the water accounting statements
    • notes on how the water accounting standard was interpreted
    • information on how water is used for economic, environmental, social and cultural benefit and, where applicable, detailed information about how water flows through the urban water system
  • an accountability statement that indicates the report.s level of compliance with the water accounting standard.

Read the Information sheet (484KB) to find out more about the National Water Account.

Use the Quick Guide (750KB) to see how to navigate around the site.


What is the reporting period?

The reporting period of the 2010 Account is 1 July 2009 to 30 June 2010, referred to as 2009.10. As this is the first National Water Account, there is no comparative information presented for a preceding reporting period.


What is the purpose?

The National Water Account aims to build confidence in water management across Australia through transparent, independent and rigorous reporting of the amount of water available, traded, accessed and used for various purposes.

The specific objective of the National Water Account 2010 is:

  • To disclose for the year 2009.10 the total water resource, the volume of water available for abstraction, the rights to abstract water, and the actual abstraction of water for economic, social, cultural and environmental benefit, from physical water entities of national significance.

Where did the data come from?

The best available data and supporting information at the time were used to prepare each water accounting report. These data and information were provided by a wide range of organisations, including:

  • water agencies
  • local government authorities
  • State and Territory government departments responsible for water management
  • Federal government authorities, including the Bureau of Meteorology and the Murray-Darling Basin Authority
  • Natural Resource Management boards
  • commercial organisations such as irrigation service providers and electricity generators.

Detailed notes within each regional account provide further information about the specific data sources used. 'Who prepared it' lists the organisations who contributed to the National Water Account 2010.

The availability of suitable data from these organisations determined the scope of information presented. Due to the newness of this approach to water resources reporting, pre-existing data collection processes did not always fully align with the breadth of data required for the National Water Account, resulting in some data gaps.


Why these regions?

The National Water Account 2010 reports on most of the high-intensity water use regions of Australia, covering six capital city and two rural regions.

Collectively, these eight regions are home to over 70% of Australia's population, and are where, over the long-term, more than two-thirds of total annual Australian water consumption occurs. Based on 2009.10 data, about 70% of Australia.s urban water abstraction occurs in the six capital city regions, with a further 7% taking place in the Murray-Darling Basin region.

Most of the nation.s water market activity occurs in the Murray-Darling Basin. Over 90% of the total Australia-wide trade in entitlements and allocations took place in this region in 2009.10 (National Water Commission). It is also a focus for water reform and environmental water management and is a nationally significant multi-jurisdictional water region.

A large portion of Australian economic activity also occurs in these eight regions. The Murray-Darling Basin generates over 40% of the gross value of Australian agricultural production.

There are many competing demands for the water in these eight regions. The information presented in the 2010 Account outlines how water was shared between the economy, critical human needs and the environment.


Who prepared it?

How was it prepared?

A cooperative approach was taken to the production of the 2010 Account, with the Bureau and reporting partners jointly developing the content. Planning included defining the scope of information to be contained in the set of eight water accounting reports along with their geographic boundaries. Data collation and analysis started in mid-2010 and continued until early 2011.

Due to the newness of the publication, and the importance placed on robustness and transparency, a rigorous review process was undertaken. Feedback and suggestions provided by the many partner water agencies greatly assisted in ensuring the information in the National Water Account 2010 is a fair and true representation of water management in each of the eight regions for the 2009.10 reporting period.

The preparation and presentation of the 2010 Account was guided by the first Australian Water Accounting Standard, which is currently in exposure draft form.