A number of conventions were used in capturing and presenting the information in each water accounting report of the National Water Account 2010.
The following conventions were used:
The numbering of the line items within the water accounting statements is directly related to the numbering used in the 2010 Account data capture tool. This capture tool is a list of all possible line item options that could be presented in a National Water Account, based on the underpinning water balance conceptual framework. Numbering is associated with fluxes into and out of the water stores.
This numbering system is consistent across all regions to allow comparison. Adopting a numbering system based on the underpinning water balance conceptual framework facilitated the collection of information. The numbering system structure does not align with the structure of the water accounting statements and results in line items being presented out of sequential order.
If line items are not presented in the water accounting statements they do not meet the recognition criteria or they do not occur in the region being reported.
The legislative water resource management frameworks vary greatly between jurisdictions, sometimes making comparisons difficult. To facilitate meaningful comparison between the water accounting reports included in the National Water Account 2010, the Bureau developed and applied a water accounting policy that defines ‘regulated’ and ‘unregulated’ water resources. The 2010 Account interpretations of ‘regulated’ and ‘unregulated’ may differ from the legislative interpretation in some jurisdictions.
The 2010 Account considers an entitlement or claim to water to be regulated when all three of the following conditions are met:
All regulated entitlements and claims to water and actual diversions of flows are reported in the respective water accounting statements of the 2010 Account.
The 2010 Account considers an entitlement or claim to water to be unregulated when the holder of a water entitlement or a claim to water cannot order the release or delivery of water. The holder must abstract or otherwise exercise their entitlement or claim subject to that water being available in the watercourse.
For unregulated entitlements, only actual diversions resulting from the exercise of the claim are reported in the water accounting statements, not the claim itself.
Water distribution system arrangements that give rise to claims to water in order to supply an end-user are classified and reported within a water asset/water liability framework by applying the 2010 Account water accounting policy definitions of regulated and unregulated water resources.
In the urban water distribution system, these arrangements can be of any of the following types:
The qualification of the arrangements under which the water is supplied to the end-user (the water distribution system) as regulated or unregulated by the 2010 Account can appear to be at odds with the legal classification of the entitlement system of a given region, when the legal water entitlement is not exercised at that same end-user level. A typical example is when a water access entitlement conferred by State or Territory legislation is held to harvest water from a catchment into a storage for urban supply. In this case, such a water entitlement may be referred to as ‘unregulated’ in the State’s legislation, while the 2010 Account may categorise the arrangement to deliver water from the storage to the water distribution system as ‘regulated’.
The intent of the National Water Account is to distinguish between regulated and unregulated entitlements or claims to water based primarily on how strong the claim against the licencing authority, or equivalent, for water held in storage, is. This has direct consequences for the expression of water assets and water liabilities in a water accounting context. Regulated entitlements or claims to water are intended to reflect a strong claim. Unregulated entitlements are intended to reflect a weaker, less certain claim (generally a contingent water asset or water liability), that is subject to more conditions being fulfilled before it becomes a ‘present obligation’ for the legal party against whom the claim is made.
In the 2010 Account, regulated entitlements and claims to water are presented in the water accounting statements, and unregulated entitlements and claims are presented in the notes.