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National Water Account 2018

Sydney: Governance

Cataract Dam, New South Wales. Source: WaterNSW

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.
  • 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 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' notes. The Bureau of Meteorology is responsible for these interpretations.

 

Matthew Coulton

a/General Manager, Water

Bureau of Meteorology

28 February 2019

 

Water accounting policies

Introduction

The information presented in the Sydney region is based on collaboration between the Bureau of Meteorology (the Bureau) and:

  • New South Wales Department of Industry
  • WaterNSW
  • Sydney Water Corporation
  • EnergyAustralia
  • Shoalhaven City Council
  • Wingecarribee Shire Council
  • Goulburn Mulwaree Council
  • Lithgow City Council.

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 litres presented as 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 licensing authority or the urban utilities and from which a future probable 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 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.

 

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 reported 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 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 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 the allocations.

 

Water assets and water liabilities that fail the recognition criteria

The volumes of several water assets and water liabilities identified in the Sydney 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 (see Water assets note in 'Supporting information').

 

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

There were no items to report under this category.

 

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.

 

Urban water system

Comparative year volumes related to urban water assets were restated from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Accounts due to a change in presentation. Urban water assets, which represent water held in distribution pipes and channels, and service reservoirs, were no longer considered as water assets in the region as this water is needed for operation of the system and no direct benefit is derived.

Comparative year volumes for several urban flow volumes were also restated from the 2013, 2014 and 2015 Accounts due to a change in presentation associated with amendments to the Water Regulations in 2016. A primary aim of these amendments was to reduce reporting burden on urban utilities and town councils. This change in presentation included the removal of inter-region water transfers and deliveries associated with small town council areas that lie partly outside the Sydney region boundary.

The change in presentation also separated water flows associated with the urban water supply system from flows associated with the wastewater and recycled water systems. Previously, these flows were classified as a single flow from the urban system. In addition, evaporation from the urban system was reclassified as a loss from the wastewater and recycled water system. The comparative year items restated in the 2018 Account include:

  • Supply system discharge: surface water
  • Wastewater discharge: surface water
  • Supply system delivery: urban users
  • Recycled water delivery: urban users
  • Other wastewater and recycled water decreases
  • Discharge: urban supply system
  • Discharge: wastewater
  • Unaccounted-for difference.

 

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 urban water sytem) 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 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 to total water assets

 

Table N1 Reconciliation of closing water storage to total water assets for the Sydney region
 2018
ML
2017
ML
Closing water storages as presented in the Statement of Water Flows2,044,8682,691,029
   
Surface water  
Storages2,042,2432,687,524
Rivers2,6253,505
Total water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Assets and Water Liabilities2,044,8682,691,029
   
add Other water assets 
Surface water  
Claims: inter-region2,3672,367
Urban water system  
Claims: inter-region00
   
Total water assets2,047,2352,693,396

 

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

 

Table N2 Reconciliation of the net change in water storage to the change in net water assets for the Sydney region
 2018
ML
2017
ML
Change in net water assets as presented in the Statement of Changes in Water Assets and Water Liabilities(646,161)(130,526)
adjustments for: 
Change in non–physical water assets 
Surface water 
Claims: inter-region00
Urban water system  
Claims: inter-region00
Total change in non-physical water assets00
   
Change in water liabilities  
Surface water liability00
   
Net change in water storage as presented in the Statement of Water Flows(646,161)(130,526)