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National Water Account 2016

Ord: Governance

Lake Argyle Dam, Western Australia (iStock © czardases)

Accountability statement

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:

        – Unregulated river
        – Lakes and wetlands
        – Water table aquifer
        – Underlying aquifer

    This is because water store flows could be quantified but storage volumes for these items could not.
  • A volume for recharge from the landscape to groundwater has been recognised, even though its quantification is incomplete, in order to not inflate unnecessarily the unaccounted-for-differences.
  • 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

28 February 2017

 

Water accounting policies

Introduction

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

  • Western Australian Department of Water (Department of Water)
  • Water Corporation of Western Australia (the Water Corporation).

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. 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 or Territory licensing authority or the urban utilities and from which a future probable benefit can be derived by the region's stakeholders 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 probable decrease of the region's water assets or a probable 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 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.

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 use and as such does not provide a future benefit to the Ord region.

 

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

 

Water assets and water liabilities that fail the recognition criteria

The volumes of several water assets identified in the Ord 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 the region's stakeholders.

Water assets that failed the recognition criteria include unregulated rivers, lakes and wetlands and groundwater aquifers (see Water assets note in 'Supporting information').

 

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

The volumes of several changes to water assets identified in the Ord 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 the region's stakeholders.

Items that failed the recognition criteria include inter-region groundwater flows and groundwater discharge to landscape (see Groundwater store note in 'Supporting information').

 

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 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 an item.

Comparative year volumes related to surface water liability were restated from the 2015 Account due to a prior period error. In the 2015 Account, total surface water allocation for the irrigation scheme was 459,800 ML. This included allocations for water supply to the Goomig Farmlands by Kimberley Agricultural Investment Pty Ltd, which was incorrectly stated as 120,000 ML. The licensed allocation for water supply to Goomig Farmlands is currently 47,000 ML/year.

The associated changes to surface water liability for the irrigation scheme, and the resultant changes to the net water assets and the unaccounted-for differences, are summarised in Table N1.

 

Table N1 Prior period errors in the 2015 Account
Item descriptionRevised 2015 volume in 2016 Account
(ML)
Volume reported in 2015 Account
(ML)
Surface water liability
  
Allocation remaining: irrigation304,801368,601
Allocation: irrigation386,800459,800
Allocated diversion: irrigation156,453165,653
Adjustment and forfeiture: irrigation196,490196,490
Surface water assets  
Closing net water assets9,613,4699,549,669
Change in net water assets(1,034,140)(1,097,940)
Unaccounted-for difference  
Unaccounted-for difference(1,025,105)(1,015,905)

 

 

Reconciliations

Introduction

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 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.

 

Closing water storage with total water assets

 

Table N2 Reconciliation of closing water storage to total water assets for the Ord region
 2016
ML
2015
ML
   
Closing water storages as presented in the Statement of Water Flows8,072,7649,942,970
Surface water  
Storages8,057,5649,928,770
Unregulated river
Regulated river15,20014,200
Lakes and wetlands
Groundwater  
Water table aquifer
Underlying aquifers
Total water storage as presented in the 
Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities
8,072,7649,942,970
   
add Other water assets00
   
Total water assets8,072,7649,942,970

 

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 Ord region
 2016
ML
2015
ML
Change in net water assets as presented in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities(1,874,456)(1,034,140)
adjustments for:  
Change in non-physical water assets00
   
Change in water liabilities  
Surface water liability  
Allocation remaining: individual users(1,723)(1,575)
Allocation remaining: urban system(1)(1)
Allocation remaining: irrigation scheme5,96133,857
Groundwater liability  
Allocation remaining: individual users13(28)
Allocation remaining: urban system00
Total change in water liabilities4,25032,253
   
Net change in water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Flows(1,870,206)(1,001,887)