Ord
Water accounting policies

a. Introduction

The information presented in the Ord region water accounting report is based on agreements between the Western Australian Department of Water, Water Corporation and the Bureau of Meteorology.

The report has been prepared using an accrual basis of water accounting, with the exception of the physical water flow information. The water attribute being quantified is volume and the unit of account is megalitres (ML). Where a reported volume is negative, it is shown in brackets.

b. Recognition of water assets and water liabilities

Only water that is held or managed by the state licensing authority or the urban utilities and is part of the entitlement system is defined as a water asset. Provided its volume can be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error, the volume of the water asset or water liability is recognised in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities.

Water held in storages that has already been abstracted from the entitlement system is deemed not to be part of the region (no matter their size or connection to the system). This is because the attendant water right has already been exercised. 

The regulated channel of the lower Ord River is recognised as a water asset when the electrical conductivity is below 1,500 μS/cm. Water in the regulated channel above this salinity level is not deemed fit for purpose and as such does not provide a future benefit to the Ord region.

Water in the irrigation scheme is identified as a water asset but is not recognised in the Water Accounting Statements because it cannot be quantified.

c. Recognition of changes in water assets and water liabilities

Increases and decreases to the reported water assets and water liabilities consist of changes that can be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error. These volumes are presented in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities and the Statement of Physical Water Flows.

Precipitation and evaporation are recognised only in relation to the surfaces of open storage volumes (9.1 Precipitation on surface water and 17.1 Evaporation from surface water). They do not represent all precipitation, evaporation and evapotranspiration within the region (notably, these processes occurring from the landscape are not captured).

That portion of runoff that flows into the surface water store (storages and rivers) is quantified and recognised on the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities. This runoff includes precipitation captured in the catchment less evaporation and infiltration and is recorded as 9.4 Rainfall runoff.


Allocation announcements on regulated entitlements have been recognised as an increase in water liabilities. Note that the definition of regulated or unregulated entitlements for the purpose of the National Water Account (refer to 2011 Account Glossary) may be different to the meaning applied by the jurisdiction. Please refer to the Water rights, entitlements, allocations and restrictions note for more information on allocations.

 

d. Water assets and water liabilities that fail the recognition criteria

The volumes of several water assets and water liabilities identified in the Ord region were not reported in the water accounting statements but replaced by dashes ('–') because they 'failed the recognition criteria' specified in the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standard 1, as:

  • they could not be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error
  • in the case of water assets, they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or the region's stakeholders
  • in the case of water liabilities, they were unlikely to result in a decrease in the region's water assets or an increase in another water liability when the obligation is discharged.

The description of those water assets and water liabilities that failed the recognition criteria is given in the following line item notes:

e. Changes to water assets and water liabilities that fail the recognition criteria

The volumes of several changes to water assets and water liabilities identified in the Ord region were not reported in the water accounting statements but replaced by dashes ('–') because they 'failed the recognition criteria' specified in the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standard 1, as:

  • they could not be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error
  • in the case of changes to water assets, they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or the region's stakeholders
  • in the case of changes to water liabilities, they were unlikely to result in a decrease in the region's water assets or an increase in another water liability when the obligation is discharged.

The description of those changes to water assets and water liabilities that failed the recognition criteria is given in the following line item notes:

f. Restatement of comparative year information

Several comparative year volumes in the water accounting statements were restated from the 2010 Account in order to provide more useful information to the users. Restatements may be due to:

  • error committed in the 2010 Account, referred to as prior period error
  • change in the presentation of the water accounting statements, where line items were generally simplified since the 2010 Account
  • change in scope, for instance to include more of the region's area in the definition of a line item in order to present more complete information
  • improvement in quantification methodology
  • increase in the data available to quantify a line item.

In accordance with the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standards 1 (the Standards), changes of presentation and scope of the line items require restatement of the comparative values in the water accounting statements. Changes of methodologies and data availability, although not required by the Standards, were restated in the water accounting statements if the change was considered material. In particular, any change affecting the allocation accounts was restated.

The notes attached to the line items of the water accounting statements give the detail on all the restatements made.

Change in presentation of the water accounting statements

In the 2010 Account, internal transactions between various water assets and water liabilities of the region were reported in the water accounting statements. In the 2011 Account, these internal transactions are not reported in the water accounting statements for the following reasons:

  • they did not affect the region's total water assets and water liabilities
  • feedback was received that presenting these internal transactions in the water accounting statements was confusing, as the same water appeared in the water accounting statements as both a claim to water and an obligation to deliver water and as both inflows and outflows in relation to the various water assets and water liabilities.
In the 2011 Account, these internal transactions are reported instead in the Resources and systems suite of notes: Surface water.