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National Water Account 2018

Daly: Governance

Kakadu wetland, Northern Territory (iStock © Catherine and Simon Gidz)

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 2018, 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.

 

Dr Robert Argent

General Manager, Water

Bureau of Meteorology

29 November 2018

 

Water accounting policies

Introduction

The information presented in the Daly region water accounting report is based on collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology and the Department of Environment and Natural Resources.

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 2017 to 30 June 2018.

 

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 liability.

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.

 

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 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.

Allocations announced on regulated entitlements have been recognised as increases in water liabilities. Note that the definition of regulated or unregulated entitlements for the purpose of the National Water Account (refer to 'Glossary') may be different to the meaning applied by the jurisdiction. Please refer to the Water access and use 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 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
  • they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or the region's stakeholders.

Water assets that failed the recognition criteria include 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 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
  • they were unlikely to provide a future benefit to the region or the region's stakeholders.

One item failed the recognition criteria—groundwater discharge to the landscape (see Water stores 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 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.

 

Water liability

Comparative year volumes related to water liability were restated from the 2013, 2014, 2015, and 2016 Accounts due to a change in presentation. The change in presentation refers to the alignment of the reporting year in the National Water Account (1 July–30 June) with the Department of Environment and Natural Resources licence water year (1 May–30 April). This means that licence data (including allocations and water use) aligns with that reported by the department, providing consistent and clearer information to users of the Account. The comparative year items restated in the 2018 Account include:

  • Allocation remaining
  • Allocation
  • Adjustment and forfeiture
  • Allocated abstractions
  • Unaccounted-for difference
  • Change in net water assets

 

Unaccounted-for difference

Comparative year volumes related to unaccounted-for difference were also restated from the 2013, 2014, and 2015 Accounts due to a change in presentation. This change in presentation separated the actual change in aquifer storage from the unaccounted-for difference volume in the water accounting statements. Previously, unaccounted-for difference included changes in water storage. Change in aquifer storage is now presented within the change in net water assets (and change in water storage) item in the statements. The comparative year items restated in the 2018 Account include:

  • Unaccounted-for difference
  • Change in net water assets

 

Between-store flows

In the 2013–2017 Accounts, transactions between water assets and water liabilities within the region (e.g. between the surface water store and the groundwater store) were not reported in the water accounting statements. In the 2018 account, however, these between-store transactions were included as they provide a better understanding of the water movement that occurs at each water store or system. Comparative year volumes for these transactions are also reported.

 

Reconciliations

Introduction

The following reconciliation tables verify:

  • how the region’s closing water storage in the Statement of Water Flows reconciles with 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 with 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 N1 Reconciliation of closing water storage with total water assets for the Daly region
 2018
ML
2017
ML
   
Closing water storages as presented in the Statement of Water Flows
Surface water  
Storages220220
Rivers12,75314,388
Lakes and wetlands
Groundwater  
Water table aquifer
Underlying aquifers
Total water storage as presented in the 
Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities
   
add Other water assets00
   
Total water assets

 

Net change in water storage with the change in net water assets

 

Table N2 Reconciliation of the net change in water storage with the change in net water assets for the Daly region
 2018
ML
2017
ML
Change in net water assets as presented in the Statement of Changes of Water Assets and Water Liabilities(461,635)516,000
adjustments for:  
Change in non-physical water assets00
   
Change in water liabilities  
Surface water liability  
Allocation remaining: individual users00
Allocation remaining: urban system00
Groundwater liability  
Allocation remaining: individual users00
Allocation remaining: urban system00
Total change in water liabilities00
   
Net change in water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Flows(461,635)516,000