Improving water information through standardised water accounting: Australian evidence

Edward Tello Melendez

Research output: Contribution to journalMeeting abstract


Purpose: This research paper examines how the development of Standardised Water Accounting (SWA) could be used as a tool to improve water information and, therefore, water management. SWA, currently being pilot tested in Australia, utilises financial accounting methodology and format, but quantifies water in physical rather than monetary amounts. Originality: As SWA constitutes a novel approach to water reporting, this paper provides some insights as to how the various technologies of accounting might contribute to natural resource management beyond traditional techniques such as corporate sustainability reporting. Key literature/theoretical perspective: This paper discusses on the long tradition of considering how accounting might relate to the environment and sustainability. Additionally, this research is located in one of the four camps in which Bebbington and Gray (2001) classified the accounting literature on sustainability and accounting. Design/methodology/approach: This paper adopts a case study approach. The case study was facilitated by the former Water Accounting Development Committee, now Water Accounting Standards Board, and the objective was identifying the operational issues of implementing SWA in the different pilot sites across Australia. Findings: Preliminary findings are discussed in this paper pending further research. Issues discussed in this paper include the identification of the water reporting entity, fulfillment of users’ needs through water reports, discharge of accountability of water managers, quantification and quantification accuracy in regards with water measures and accounting processes which include the double-entry system and accrual accounting. Research limitations/implications: Consistent with other case studies, the primary limitation of the study is generalisability. Particular Australian environmental and regulatory characteristics in relation to water suggest that adoption of SWA in other contexts may yield different results.
Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)78-79
Number of pages2
JournalExpo 2010 Higher Degree Research : book of abstracts
Publication statusPublished - 2010
EventHigher Degree Research Expo (6th : 2010) - Sydney
Duration: 19 Nov 201019 Nov 2010


  • sustainability
  • water
  • water accounting
  • social and environmental accounting
  • Australia


Dive into the research topics of 'Improving water information through standardised water accounting: Australian evidence'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this