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National Water Account 2016

Adelaide: Governance

City of Adelaide, South Australia (iStock © Ben Goode)

Accountability

1. This water accounting report has been prepared and presented in accordance with the Australian Water Accounting Standard 1, with the following exceptions:

  • No Assurance Statement was prepared because the standard for, and practice of, assurance of water accounting reports are currently not available.
  • Notes on the quantification approaches and levels of uncertainty are incomplete because the knowledge base is often inadequate.
  • No information is disclosed about material events that occurred after 30 June 2016, such as extreme precipitation and significant water rights purchases. This information is publicly available elsewhere.
  • Asset changes for water stores (surface water and groundwater) have been included in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities, without a corresponding water store asset volume being included in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities for the following line items:
        – Water table aquifer
        – Underlying aquifer

This is because water store flows could be quantified but storage volumes for these items could not.

  • The volumes of water assets and water liabilities including the volumes of changes to water assets and water liabilities that failed the recognition criteria were reported in the water accounting statements with dashes ('–') in order to highlight data and knowledge gaps that may affect the water accounting statement balances.

2. The report has been compiled from the best data available, as detailed in the water accounting statement Notes, in the time available to compile it from a number of sources. The Bureau of Meteorology takes a nationally-consistent approach to report preparation and presentation, but for a few line items there may be local data of higher quality that were not used.

3. All significant and specific interpretations of the Australian Water Accounting Standard 1 for the purpose of the preparation of this report are explained in the 'Water accounting policies' note. The Bureau of Meteorology is responsible for these interpretations.

Robert Argent

Assistant Director, Water Information Services

Bureau of Meteorology

27 April 2017

 

Water accounting policies

Introduction

The information presented in the Adelaide region water accounting report is based on collaboration between the Bureau and:

  • South Australian Department for Environment, Water and Natural Resources
  • South Australian Water Corporation.

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. The applicable reporting period is from 1 July 2015 to 30 June 2016.

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.

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.

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 farm dams 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 access and use 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 store note), groundwater aquifers (see Groundwater store note), and a part of the wastewater and recycled water systems (see Urban water system 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 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
  • 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 surface water recharge to landscape (see Surface water store note), groundwater recharge from surface water and groundwater discharge to farm dams (see Groundwater store note), and leakage from irrigation schemes to groundwater (see Irrigation schemes note).

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.

Changes were made to the 2016 Account for the purposes of simplifying data collection and aligning urban water boundaries with those utilised by SA Water. The comparative year volumes that were removed or restated in the water accounting statements are summarised in Table N1.

 

Table N1 Changes in groundwater, surface water and urban volumes' presentation from the 2015 Account
Item descriptionRevised 2015 volume in 2016 Account
(ML)

Volume reported in 2015 Account

(ML)

Surface water  
Unregulated riverremoved462
Discharge: urban supplyremoved18
Discharge: wastewater and recycled water system  
Other decreasesremoved4,031
Urban water system  
Supply systemremoved1,414
Wastewater systemremoved133
Recycled water systemremoved17
Supply system delivery: inter-regionremoved4,031
Evaporationreplaced with 'Other wastewater decreases'8,942
Wastewater collected91,94594,463
Supply system discharge: surface waterremoved18
Supply system transfer: inter-region1,7434,031
Wastewater and recycled water discharge: surface waterremoved2,175
Recycled water delivery: urban users3,5473,906
Irrigation scheme  
Supply systemremoved29

 

Reconciliations

The following reconciliation tables verify:

  • how the region’s closing water storage in the Statement of Water Flows reconciles to the total water assets reported in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities.
  • how the water accounting region's change in water storage in the Statement of Water Flows reconciles to the change in net water assets reported in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities.

Reconciliation of closing water storage to total water assets

 

Table N2 Reconciliation of closing water storage to total water assets for the Adelaide region
 2016
ML
2015
ML
Closing water storage presented in the Statement of Water Flows189,656181,125
Surface water  
Storages103,30094,769
Groundwater  
Other groundwater assets86,35686,356
Total water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities189,656181,125
   
add Other water assets00
   
Total water assets189,656181,125

 

Reconciliation of the net change in water storage to the change in net water assets

 

Table N3 Reconciliation of the net change in water storage to the change in net water assets for the Adelaide region
 2016
ML
2015
ML
Change in net water assets as presented in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities7,001(28,936)
adjustment for:  
Change in non-physical water assets:00
   
Change in water liabilities  
Surface water liability  
Surface water allocation remaining: individual users(237)(11)
Groundwater liability  
Groundwater allocation remaining: individual users1,7671,214
Total change in water liabilities  
   
Net change in water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Flows8,531(27,733)