Australian Water Accounting Standards development

Developing the standards

As the Water Accounting Standards Board (WASB) our primary activity is the development of Australian Water Accounting Standards (AWAS).

Before preparing the AWAS, we prepared the Water Accounting Conceptual Framework (WACF). All water accounting standards are aligned with the WACF and therefore share key concepts and definitions.

Our first attempt at a water accounting standard was the Preliminary Australian Water Accounting Standard (PAWAS), published in 2009. This was tested through several pilot programs, including the Pilot National Water Account. In 2010, it was succeeded by the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standard 1 (ED AWAS 1), which includes a set of four associated model reports. It is hoped that voluntary adoption of ED AWAS 1 and further testing and feedback will contribute to the development of a final AWAS, scheduled for release at the end of 2012.

We are also working with the Auditing and Assurance Standards Board (AUASB) to develop a separate standard for Assurance Engagements on General Purpose Water Accounting Reports. A consultation paper on this topic will be released in mid-2011, followed by an Exposure Draft at the end of 2011. We plan to publish a final version of this new standard at the end of 2012.

The following diagram illustrates the development process of water accounting standards. The ED AWAS 1 is currently at step 4.

Water accounting steps

Credibility, reliability and acceptance

To ensure that the WACF and the ED AWAS 1 are credible, reliable and widely accepted:

  • The fundamental principles set out in the WACF form the basis for cohesive AWAS.
  • The WACF also helps to resolve uncertainty about issues not addressed in the AWAS.
  • Water and accounting experts from industry, academia, environmental groups and government help to develop the WACF and the AWAS.
  • Pilot projects were undertaken to test the WACF and the PAWAS. It is hoped that voluntary adoption of the ED AWAS 1 will continue to test and develop AWAS.

Pilot projects

  • River Murray (Murray-Darling Basin Authority)
  • Lower River Murray (SA Department of Water, Land, and Biodiversity Conservation)
  • Goulburn-Broken Catchment (VIC Office of Water, Department of Sustainability and Environment)
  • Regulated Murrumbidgee Valley (NSW Department of Water and Energy)
  • Pioneer Valley (QLD Department of Environment and Resource Management)
  • Lower Gascoyne and Carabooda (WA Department of Water)
  • Minerals Council of Australia
  • Hydro Tasmania
  • Amcor Ltd
  • Harvey Water Irrigation
  • Northern Territory Power and Water Corporation
  • Methods Pilot for the National Water Account

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