Implementation of standardised water accounting in Australia

Edward Tello, James Hazelton

Research output: Chapter in Book/Report/Conference proceedingConference proceeding contributionpeer-review


Purpose - This paper introduces standardised water accounting (SWA), an innovative new approach to account for water currently being pilot tested in Australia. This approach utilises financial accounting methodology and format but does not reduce water to monetary amounts, and represents an alternative model for environmental accounting. Design/methodology/approach - The paper uses a descriptive approach to locate SWA within the existing milieu of water accounting methodology. It provides a historical account of the drivers for SWA and the related institutional framework. Findings - Given the early stage of SWA, the paper does not conclude on its efficacy. However, we outline both the potential as well as challenges of implementing this approach. Research limitations/implications - This paper provides an introduction to a larger research project which involves testing the application of SWA in real world situations. The paper is conceptual and therefore does not provide empirical evidence regarding SWA. Practical implications - If SWA proves successful, it may be adopted not only in Australia, but also in other countries. Further, SWA might be adapted to account for other environmental elements such as carbon emissions and biodiversity. Originality/value - Prior studies of accounting for water have focused on the preparation of water accounts without any real link to the Accounting discipline. Furthermore, little research has been done in the area of water accounting within social and environmental accounting research.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publicationProceedings of the 7th Australasian Conference for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (A-CSEAR 2008)
EditorsRoger L. Burritt
Place of PublicationAdelaide
PublisherCentre for Accounting, Governance and Sustainability, University of South Australia
Number of pages13
ISBN (Print)9780646496306
Publication statusPublished - 2008
EventAustralasian Conference for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (7th : 2008) - Adelaide
Duration: 7 Dec 20089 Dec 2008


ConferenceAustralasian Conference for Social and Environmental Accounting Research (7th : 2008)


  • conceptual paper
  • water
  • water accounting
  • Australia


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