The National Water Account is a new publication of the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) about water resources in Australia. This is a new style of water resource reporting, analogous to financial reporting, that seeks to reconcile water stocks and flows against annual allocations. It does this for nationally significant water management regions.
The National Water Account provides regional information for a particular reporting period about:
Under the Commonwealth Water Act 2007 the Bureau of Meteorology has responsibility for the annual publication of the National Water Account. For the first few publications, while we expand our knowledge of the nation’s water resources, the Bureau is pleased to have the assistance of the State and Territory water agencies in this task.
The National Water Account supports the aims of the National Water Initiative, with respect to protecting the integrity of the water access entitlement system, by producing 'water resource accounts that can be reconciled annually'.
The National Water Account provides information that has previously been difficult to access or unavailable to general users in a standardised form. It presents a cross-jurisdictional perspective on water and the rights and obligations with respect to that water.
Future National Water Accounts will be published annually. The lag between the end of the reporting year and the publication date arises from the considerable data collection, analysis, compilation and review activities required.
In 2009, the Bureau of Meteorology tested a range of methods and processes necessary for the production of the National Water Account. The Pilot National Water Account was published in December 2009, with a second edition released in February 2010. Feedback and knowledge gained through this process guided the shape, content and structure of the first National Water Account.
The level of detail reported in the National Water Account varies depending on the data available within each region. Information gaps may occur in some instances if data are not currently measured or calculated or if available data do not correlate to the appropriate reporting period. At the minimum, each regional water accounting report covers:
The Bureau of Meteorology is working closely with a wide range of organisations in each State and Territory, as well as other Australian Government agencies, to gather the best available data and produce an annual National Water Account. Thousands of lines of data and accompanying contextual information are analysed, compiled and reviewed before publication in the National Water Account.
In developing this new product, the Bureau of Meteorology assessed Australia’s nationally significant water regions. Regions where sufficient data were available, and where resource capacity existed to analyse and develop accounts within the specified timeframe, were selected for inclusion in the first National Water Account. In future years, as data availability improves and capacity grows, the National Water Account coverage will expand to encompass all nationally significant, managed water resource systems.
The National Water Account has, by its nature, a national focus that guides the spatial resolution and time period of reporting. The National Water Account paints a picture of Australia’s water resources at a regional water management scale.
Other jurisdictions report local level data, including more detailed information for a specific State or Territory.
The National Water Account and ABS Water Account Australia emphasise different aspects of the Australian water resource and the impacts upon the resource by human activity.
Broadly speaking, the National Water Account focuses on the total physical water resource, its availability, the rights to abstract water and the actual volumes abstracted. All of these components are dependent upon climatic factors, human activities and water management policies.
The Water Account Australia provides information on the supply and use of water within the Australian economy. It shows how much water is used by human activity, particularly the flows of water between households, businesses and government within the economy.Together these accounts will inform water resources planning, water market activity, investment and environmental management decisions, as well as research and discussion within governments and the community.
The National Water Account has a national focus and provides a cross-jurisdictional perspective on water resource management, and the rights and obligations with respect to that water. Taking a whole-of-country perspective enables national information comparison and highlights gaps and inconsistencies in data and knowledge, allowing improvements to be made to our national water information base.
State and Territory level water accounting products provide water management information that is tailored to a more local perspective.
The National Water Account is one of a suite of water information products developed by the Bureau of Meteorology. For further information see Water Information.