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 9: Two Perspectives of Water Resource Accounting: Comparing the Australian and the United Nations Approaches

Eric Mungatana and Rashid Hassan

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9. Two perspectives of water resource accounting: comparing the Australian and the United Nations approaches Eric Mungatana and Rashid Hassan INTRODUCTION Natural resource accounts (NRA) comprise a system of satellite accounts1 for the environment that can be used to incorporate the role of the environment more fully in the economy through the System of National Accounts (SNA). The SNA constitutes the primary source of information about the economy and is widely used for analysis and decision-making in all countries. However, the SNA has had a number of well-known shortcomings regarding the treatment of the environment (Solow 1974, 1986; Hartwick 1977; Lange et al. 2003), with the consequence that the traditional indicators deriving from its implementation (for example, net national income) do not give the correct signals regarding changes in inter-temporal welfare. To address this shortcoming the United Nations (UN) has developed satellite accounts called the System of Environmental-Economic Accounting (SEEA) (United Nations 1993, 2003). The SEEA complements the SNA for deriving environmentally adjusted indicators of economic performance and change in wealth measures such as genuine savings, which provide better indicators of sustainable development (Weitzman 1976; Hartwick 1990; Mäler 1991; Hamilton 1994, 1996; World Bank 2000). The SEEA recommends that NRA should be constructed for subsoil resources; water resources; wooded land, timber and forest resources; aquatic resources;2 land and ecosystems to the extent that data permit. In this chapter, we concentrate on accounting for water resources. It is important to note that water accounting is one of the many...

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