Adelaide

Water accounting policies

Introduction

The information presented in the Adelaide region report is based on agreements between, and information provided by the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) and:

  • South Australian Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources (DEWNR)
  • South Australian Water Corporation (SA Water).

The report has been prepared using an accrual basis of water accounting, with the exception of the 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.

 

Recognition of water assets and water liabilities

Only water that is held or managed by the state licensing authority or the region's urban water system, and from which future benefit can be derived by stakeholders of the region, is defined as a water asset. Water liabilities are constituted by present commitments to supply water, the discharge of which is expected to result in a decrease of the region's water assets or an increase in another water commitment to supply water.

A water asset is recognised in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities provided:

  • the volume can be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error; and
  • the derived benefit is probable

A water liability is recognised in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities provided:

  • the volume can be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error; and
  • the decrease of the region's water assets or increase in another water commitment to supply water is probable

Water held in off-channel water storages that has already been abstracted from the entitlement system is deemed not to be part of the region (regardless of the storage's size or connection to the system). This is because the attendant water right has already been exercised. 


Recognition of changes in water assets and water liabilities

The 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 or the Statement of Water Flows.

Precipitation and evaporation are recognised only in relation to the surfaces of open storage volumes. 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 Runoff to surface water.

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

 

Water assets and water liabilities that fail the recognition criteria

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

  • they could not be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral and free from material error; and/or
  • they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or to the region's stakeholders.
Water assets that failed the recognition criteria include rivers, lakes and wetlands (see Surface water note).
 

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 Daly region were not reported in the water accounting statements but replaced by dashes ('–') as they 'failed the recognition criteria' specified in the Australian Water Accounting Standard 1, because:

  • they could not be quantified in a way that is complete, neutral, and free from material error; and/or
  • in the case of changes to water assets, they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or the region's stakeholders; and/or
  • 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.

Changes to water assets and water liabilities that failed the recognition criteria include point return flows from the irrigation scheme (see Surface water inflows), surface water leakage to landscape (see Surface water outflows), managed aquifer recharge and groundwater discharge to off-channel water storage, groundwater flows to/from outside the region and groundwater discharge to landscape (see Groundwater flows).

 

Restatement of comparative year information

In accordance with the Australian Water Accounting Standard 1, comparative year volumes must be restated in the statements if there is a prior period error or a change in line item presentation. Comparative year volumes are not required to be restated if there is a change in scope or methodology, or subsequent data availability for the quantification of a line item.

The following comparative year volumes in the water accounting statements was restated from the 2013 Account.

 

Tabel 1 Changes in volumes from the 2013 Account due to prior period errors
AccountCorrect 2013 volume in 2014 Account (ML)Incorrect volume in 2013 Account (ML)Difference (ML)Comment
Groundwater asset    
Other groundwater asset86,35688,017(1,661)Removal of recharge water credits as a groundwater asset
Urban water system    
Wastewater system1229626Inclusion of wasterwater treatment lagoons as an asset

 

The volume of 1,591 ML, reported as other urban water system outflows in the 2012–13 year, was reclassified as evaporative losses for the 2013–14 year, based on improved information. This did not alter the total outflow from the urban water system.

 

Transactions within the region

Transactions between water assets and water liabilities within the region (e.g. between the surface water store and the groundwater store) are not reported in the water accounting statements because:

  • they do not affect the region's total water assets and water liabilities
  • users found the presentation of these internal transactions confusing, as the same water appeared in the water accounting statements as a claim to water and an obligation to deliver water, and as an inflow and outflow in relation to the various water assets and water liabilities.

This information is reported in the Water resources and systems note which includes water accounting statements for each water store. These contain internal transactions that were excluded from the consolidated water accounting statements. This ensures that transactions between water assets and water liabilities within the region are still reported.