Water Accounting
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Water Accounting

International Approaches to Policy and Decision-making

Edited by Jayne M. Godfrey and Keryn Chalmers

One of the most pressing global issues of the 21st century is the scarcity of water of a quantity appropriate to ensure economic, environmental and social sustainability. In addressing the issue through policy and management, of critical importance is access to high quality information. But water scarcity has many implications, and it is possible that different reporting approaches, generally called water accounting systems, can be appropriate to addressing them. In this groundbreaking book, international experts respond to the question: what role can water accounting play in resolving individual, organizational, industry, national and international economic, social and environmental issues? They explore how various forms of water accounting are utilized and the issues that they address.
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Chapter 1: Beyond the Hydrographers’ Legacy: Water Accounting in Australia

Maryanne Slattery, Keryn Chalmers and Jayne M. Godfrey


Maryanne Slattery, Keryn Chalmers and Jayne M Godfrey INTRODUCTION Australia’s creation as a nation of federated states and territories in 1901 occurred during a period of intense water scarcity and nearly stalled on the issue of how to equitably share the Murray River system across three states. More than a century later, one of the most recent reforms is the development of a system of water accounting that incorporates aspects of accounting, engineering, hydrology and other water-related disciplines. This chapter explores the reasons why Australia is taking an internationally leading role in developing this General Purpose Water Accounting system, which is directed towards providing information that supports important economic, social, environmental and other decisions. It discusses the development of the system and identifies further developments required to enable General Purpose Water Accounting to fulfil its objective of providing information useful for decision-making. These developments include the establishment of a regulatory framework, the development of reporting standards and the building of capacity in this discipline through research and training. Such developments will enhance the quality of information relating to water report entities. Thereby, they should facilitate more informed decision-making, thus reducing risks and even potentially preventing or mitigating future water crises. Whilst the management of water and accountability for its management are relevant across Australia, they are arguably most salient in the Murray Darling Basin (MDB). The MDB covers approximately 1 million square kilometres (equivalent to the size of South Africa), in the country’s southeast. The main rivers in this area...

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