Australian Bureau of Statistics

Rate the ABS website
ABS Home > Survey Participant Infomation
ABS @ Facebook ABS @ Twitter ABS RSS ABS Email notification service
Survey Participant Information - Water Supply and Sewerage Services Survey - FAQs
 


GENERAL INFORMATION
BUSINESS CHANGES
CONVERSION FACTORS
REVENUE ITEMS
EXPENSE ITEMS
CAPITAL EXPENDITURE
WATER SOURCES
WATER SUPPLY AND USE
WATER LOSSES
ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS
WASTEWATER (INCLUDING SEWAGE) SOURCES, TREATMENT, SUPPLY AND DISCHARGE
WATER BALANCE


GENERAL INFORMATION

What do I do if the reporting period of my business is different to the one specified in the survey?(Q1)
How accurate do the figures need to be?
Reporting of all monetary values
Do I need to provide financial data and volume data?
Do I need to complete the ABS survey if I provide similar data to other government agencies?
What if volumes of water are not metered/measured?
What if I am unable to provide the required split by customer type? (Q18 & Q34)
What if I think the survey is not applicable/relevant to me?



What do I do if the reporting period of my business is different to the one specified in the survey?(Q1)
Question 1 allows the business/organisation to specify the reporting period used for financial information in the survey (revenue, expenditure and capital expenditure).
The reporting period for volume information however is strictly from 1 July 2013 to 30 June 2014. If there is a different reporting period, or if the information only applies to part of this period, please include a comment to this effect in the comments section at the end of the survey.


How accurate do the figures need to be?
The ABS requires information that is as accurate as possible. The data supplied by your business/organisation is used to estimate information for all the businesses operating in your industry in Australia. The more accurate the figures you supply, the more accurate the total estimate will be. However, if for some items accurate data is not readily available, careful estimates will be accepted.


Reporting of all monetary values
Please report all monetary values in thousands of Australian dollars ($A'000). Where the value in the accounts of this business/organisation is not expressed in thousands of dollars, round to the nearest thousand dollars (e.g. actual figure is $798, rounded figure would be $1, representing $1,000).


Do I need to provide financial data and volume data?
Yes, this survey requires you to report both financial data and volume data. If survey components need to be completed by different people in your business/organisation, please pass the survey onto them. Note however that only one person should be in the electronic form at one time otherwise data may not be saved. If exact information is not recorded by your business/organisation please provide careful estimates.


Do I need to complete the ABS survey if I provide similar data to other government agencies?
If your business/organisation reports to either Queensland Water Directorate (QWD) or NSW Office of Water (NOW), please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones) for further assistance. If your business/organisation reports to an agency (other than QWD or NOW), the survey should still be completed. If you have concerns regarding duplication of data, please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones) for further assistance.


What if volumes of water are not metered/measured?
ABS acknowledges that certain aspects of water supply and use may not be metered/measured. Where data is not metered/measured, we ask that you provide careful estimates. There are two questions (Q29 and Q37) with tick boxes where you can indicate that the volume is not metered and therefore the information provided is an estimate. If careful estimates have been supplied for other questions, please provide a comment to this effect in the comments section at the end of the form.


What if I am unable to provide the required split by customer type? (Q18 & Q34)
The intent of these questions is to collect data based on the activities of your customers. Where this is not recorded on your systems, careful estimates are acceptable. If careful estimates have been supplied, please provide a comment to this effect in the comments section at the end of the form.


What if I think the survey is not applicable/relevant to me?
The survey has been created specifically to include all businesses/organisation identified as being involved in water supply and sewerage services activities. Please read the survey carefully and complete any parts of the form that are relevant to your business/organisation. If there has been no activity during the reference period, please provide a comment to this effect in the comments section at the end of the form.




BUSINESS CHANGES

Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation was sold during the 2013-14 financial year?
Do I still need to completed the survey if the business/organisation was sold before the start of the 2013-14 financial year?
What do I do if the business/organisation is still operating but didn't trade during 2013-14 financial year?
Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation has gone into liquidation/administration during the 2013-14 financial year?
Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation operated part way through 2013-14 financial year?


Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation was sold during the 2013-14 financial year?
Yes, the survey should be completed using figures up to and including the day that the business/organisation, (selected entity (e.g. ABN)), was sold, as well as figures relating to any other new activity undertaken by the business/organisation for the remainder of the financial year.

It is important to report the date the business was sold in Question 1 on the survey. If the business/organisation ceased to operate after the sale, indicate in the Comments section of Question 1 or at the rear of the form whether there are intentions for the business/organisation to trade in the future. Also provide the name of the new business owners.


Do I still need to completed the survey if the business/organisation was sold before the start of the 2013-14 financial year?
No, however, please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones). This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business/organisation reminder letters to return the survey.


What do I do if the business/organisation is still operating but didn't trade during 2013-14 financial year?
Please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones). This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business/organisation reminder letters to return the survey.


Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation has gone into liquidation/administration during the 2013-14 financial year?
Yes, please complete the survey using figures up to and including the day that the business/organisation was liquidated or went into administration. It is also important to report the date that this occurred by completing all of Question 1. If you are unable to access the accounts, then the liquidator or administrator should complete the survey. Where this is not possible, best available estimates of the data should be provided. Where estimates are not possible, please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones) for further assistance.


Do I still need to complete the survey if the business/organisation operated part way through 2013-14 financial year?
Yes, using figures starting the day that the business/organisation commenced operations.

Back to top

CONVERSION FACTORS
1 kilolitre (kL) = 1,000 litres (L)
1 megalitre (ML) = 1,000 kilolitres (kL)
1 gigalitre (GL) = 1,000 megalitres (ML)


REVENUE ITEMS

What is the difference between revenue received from the 'Sale of bulk water' and 'Retail water supply' in Question 3?
What do I do if I cannot easily report revenue separately for the different services (water supply, wastewater, and drainage and stormwater services)?
What if I only have revenue totals for water supply, wastewater (including sewerage) and drainage & stormwater services (Q3, Q5 & Q7)?
What do I include in revenue received from Government grants/subsidies for non-capital purposes for water supply, wastewater and drainage/stormwater services (Q3c, Q5c and Q7c)?
What do I include in Other revenue from water supply, wastewater and drainage/stormwater services Q3(d), Q5(d) or Q7(d)?
What are wastewater (including sewerage) services (Q5)?
What are drainage and stormwater services (Q7)?


What is the difference between revenue received from the 'Sale of bulk water' and 'Retail water supply' in Question 3?

Sale of bulk water (Q3a) is the sale of water (potable, non-potable, raw or recycled (reuse)) by one water supplier to another water supplier. E.g. Company A has a licence to sell water and supplies water to Company B for a monetary value. Company B also has a licence to sell water, and is therefore another water supplier. Company A would report this transaction as 'Sale of bulk water'.

Please note, if revenue is reported in Sale of bulk water in Question 3a, a corresponding volume should be reported in Question 15 (Volume of water supplied to other water suppliers).

Retail water supply (Q3b) is the sale of water (potable, non-potable, raw or recycled (reuse)) by a water supplier to customers who are not water suppliers. These could be residential or non-residential customers who purchase water for their own use. E.g. Company X has a licence to sell water and supplies water to Customer Y for a monetary value. Customer Y is an irrigator who uses the water to irrigate farm land. Company X would report this transaction as 'Retail water supply'

Please note, if revenue is reported Retail water supply in Question 3b, a corresponding volume should be reported in Question 17 (Volume of water supplied to residential and non-residential customers).


What do I do if I cannot easily report revenue separately for the different services (water supply, wastewater, and drainage and stormwater services)?
If these splits are not readily available, please provide careful estimates.


What if I only have revenue totals for water supply, wastewater (including sewerage) and drainage & stormwater services (Q3, Q5 & Q7)?
Careful estimates of the additional splits asked are acceptable.


What do I include in revenue received from Government grants/subsidies for non-capital purposes (Q3(c), Q5(c) and Q7(c))?
These questions aim to capture revenue from government grants/subsidies for non-capital purposes from sales and services of water supply and sewerage services only. This can include grants/subsidies for community service obligations (CSO) or similar, for example pensioner/senior concessions, remote community water services and rural water payments etc. It can also include grants/subsidies for projects/programs that satisfy community expectations such as flood operations, environmental flows, salinity programs and water savings programs etc.


What do I include in Other revenue from water supply, wastewater and drainage/stormwater services (Q3(d), Q5(d) or Q7(d))?
These questions look to capture other types of revenue from sales of water supply and sewerage services only. This could include revenue from interest income, developer contributions, termination/cancellation fees, rent, leasing and hiring income etc.


What are wastewater (including sewerage) services (Q5)?
Wastewater (including sewerage) service is the removal, treatment and disposal of wastewater that is discharged into a sewerage or stormwater drainage system. Please note that if revenue is reported from the provision of wastewater in Q5, you should also report associated volumes in Q29a (and Q30 if wastewater was treated).


What are drainage and stormwater services (Q7)?
Drainage service is a water service which provides for the collection and removal of excess water through a regional network of surface and/or subsurface drains.
Stormwater services is the management of stormwater through a network of surface and/or surbsurface drains to provide controlled release into receiving streams.

Please note that if revenue is reported from the provision of drainage and stormwater services in Q7, you should also report associated volumes of drainage water and stormwater in Q29.

Back to top
Back to top of section

EXPENSE ITEMS

What should I include in purchases of bulk water from water suppliers Q8(a)?
How do I report recycled (reuse) water expenses that cannot be easily separated Q8(a)?
What should I include in operation and maintenance expenditure 8(b)?
What if I am unable to separate my expenses into the differing services, water supply, wastewater (including sewerage) and drainage and stormwater Q8(b)?
What do I report in Other expenses Q8(c)?

What should I include in purchases of bulk water from water suppliers Q8(a)?
This question captures the cost of purchasing water from other water suppliers only. Other expenses such as running costs (rent etc.) should NOT be included in this question, include in Q8(b).

This question includes such things as the cost of purchases of water from state or local water utilities, water corporations, water authorities, water boards or any business/organisation authorised to supply water and bulk water supplied via billing arrangements etc.

Water that your business/organisation extracts directly from the environment under a licence to extract is self-source water and should NOT be included in this question,
include in Q8(b).

Please note that if expenditure is reported for bulk water purchased or received from other water suppliers Q8(a), you should also report associated volumes of bulk water in Q11.


How do I report recycled (reuse) water expenses that cannot be easily separated Q8(a)?
If unable to split out recycled (reuse) water supply, careful estimates are acceptable.


What should I include in operation and maintenance expenditure 8(b)?
This question captures all of the operational and maintenance costs associated with water services, except for wages (payments to employees etc.)

This question can include operational and maintenance expenses related to dams, mains pumping and treatment facilities and infrastructures etc. Costs incurred for treating raw water, licence fees, permits and other administration fees are included. Also operating costs incurred in extracting water from the environment e.g. pumping costs, dam and pump repairs and maintenance, materials, chemicals, energy used, and water sampling, monitoring and analysis, as well as payments to other businesses/organisations (e.g. employment agencies) for staff and payments to contractors etc.

Please note: Q8b(i) Water supply services should include expenditure on self-sourced water, which is water that this business/organisation actually extracts directly from the environment and will have a licence to do so.


What if I am unable to separate my expenses into the differing services, water supply, wastewater (including sewerage) and drainage and stormwater Q8(b)?
If unable to provide separate data for the different types of water services, please provide careful estimates.


What do I report in Other expenses Q8(c)?
This question captures any other business expenses not related to the supply of water. This can include wages and salaries, overheads on wages and salaries, depreciation and amortisation and interest expenses etc.



CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

How should I report capital expenditure?
How should I report in Question 9(a) (b) & (c)?
What is capitalised work done by own employees?
Where do I report capital expenditure that may span across the entire business?

How should I report capital expenditure?
Capital expenditure refers to the amount spent by a business/organisation in the current reporting period on the acquisition of non-current assets. It does not represent the value of asset holdings purchased prior to the current reporting period and does not include additions to inventories. It is reported under Capital expenditure including capitalised work done by own employees (Q9).

If the business/organisation hires contractors to carry out capital work, then these contractor payments should be included in the cost of the capital works.


What should I report in Question 9(a) (b) & (c)?
These questions look to capture capital expenditure, (including capitalised work done by own employees), for water services only. Capital expenditure for non-water services needs to be included in Q9(d).


What is capitalised work done by own employees?
Capitalised work done by own employees occurs when a business uses its own employees to add to the value of its assets by virtue of project work. Examples include:
    • employees carry out work to build a structure, such as an outbuilding;
    • employees carry out work to develop in-house software for monitoring water flows.

In these cases, the cost of the project - both wages and salaries paid to employees and materials used for the capital work - may be capitalised, so that the cost can be amortised over more than one reporting period.

Capitalised wages and salaries and purchases of materials must relate to capital works. If they are wages and salaries or purchases relating to the daily operations of the business, they are reported as an expense item.


Where do I report capital expenditure that may span across the entire business?
For capital expenditures that cannot be easily separated across differing services (water supply, wastewater (including sewerage) and drainage) of the organisation, such as capitalised computer software or capitalised vehicles/fleets should be reported under Capital expenditure - Other Q9(d), and specify the nature of the capital expenditure.
Back to top



WATER SOURCES

What should I report in Q11 Volume of bulk water purchased/received from other water suppliers?
This question captures only the volume of water received from other water suppliers. Please note you should only be reporting the amount of water actually obtained, not the amount which you are entitled to.


What do I do if there is insufficient space to list out all our water suppliers?
Please check the box at the bottom of this question that says 'Please tick the box if you purchased or received bulk water from more than 10 water suppliers'. The ABS may contact you regarding the additional water suppliers.


What should I include in Q13 Volume of self-sources water?
This question captures the volume of water which has been self-sourced. Self-sourced water is water that this business/organisation actually extracts directly from the environment and will have a licence to do so. Note that the sea water used for desalination should also be included. Please note that you should only report the amount of water actually obtained, not the amount which you were entitled to extract.

Four splits have been requested and it would be expected that the majority of reporting be in (a) (b) and (c).


What is the difference between 'Inland surface water' and 'Groundwater'?

Inland surface waters are non-coastal above-ground open fresh or brackish waterbodies (e.g. rivers, streams, lakes and pools, springs), including their littoral zones. Includes constructed inland freshwater, brackish or saline waterbodies (such as dams, canals, ponds, etc).

Groundwater is water that flows through earth materials (e.g. soil and rock) beneath the ground surface. Examples of sources of groundwater are wells, aquifers and bores.




WATER SUPPLY AND USE

How should I report in the Water Supply question (Q15)?
What do I do if there is insufficient space to list out all our water suppliers we supply to?
What do I include in water supplied to customers (Q17)?
How should I report in Q18 Non-residential customers?
How should I report in Q19 Property connections?
How should I report in Q20 Residential population size?
How should I report in Q21 Water used by this business/organisation?


How should I report in the Water Supply question (Q15)?
This question captures the volume of water supplied to other waters suppliers. Self-sourced/extracted water which is then supplied to other water suppliers should also be included in this question.

Please note: If your business/organisation extracts and transports water on behalf of other water suppliers (who hold the licence for its extraction), you should not report this volume of water. For example, Business C (a water supplier) has an arrangement with Business D (also a water supplier) for them to extract and transport water on their behalf (Business C holds the licence to extract and sell the water). Business C pays Business D a fee for this arrangement. In this situation, Business D should not report the volume of water extracted and transported to Business C in this question.


What do I do if there is insufficient space to list out all our water suppliers we supply to?
Please check the box at the bottom of this question that says 'Please tick the box if you supplied water to more than 10 water suppliers'. The ABS may contact you regarding the additional water suppliers.

Please note: If you have more than ten water suppliers to report, the requested 'Total' in this question should include the total volume of water supplied to other water suppliers, not just the sum of the ten suppliers listed.


What do I include in water supplied to customers (Q17)?
This question captures the volume of water supplied to customers that are not water suppliers. There is a split for (a) Domestic or residential and (b) Non-residential. Please note that the volume reported in Q17(b) non-residential should match the total volume reported in Q18k,


How should I report in Q18 Non-residential customers?
This question captures the volume of water supplied to non-residential customers split by activity type. Please note that the splits are activity based. The question notes to use the main activity as indicated in the records of this business/organisation. If you do not have any indication of activity of the non-residential customers, a careful estimate is acceptable. Please note that the total volume reported in Q18(k) should match the volume reported in Q17(b),


How should I report in Q19 Property connections?
This question captures the number of property connections (both Residential (a), and Non-residential (b)) which the business directly supplied water to. Note that properties that may indirectly receive water from the provider are not to be included. A careful estimate is acceptable where exact information is not available.


How should I report in Q20 Residential population size?
This question captures the size of the residential population to which the business/organisation supplied water to. This should only include the population that was directly supplied. A careful estimate is acceptable where exact information is not available.


How should I report in Q21 Water used by this business/organisation?
This question captures the volume of water used by your business/organisation. It includes water that is sourced from other water suppliers and self-sourced. It excludes water losses. If your water usage is less than 0.5 megalitres, please leave the box blank.


Back to top

WATER LOSSES

Should evaporation be included in Q23 Losses?
Only evaporation which has occurred within the water delivery infrastructure (e.g. evaporation from pipes) should be included (reported in Real losses (Q23(b)). Evaporation from water storages (e.g. dams) should not be included.



ENVIRONMENTAL FLOWS

How should I report Environmental Flows?
Only environmental flows which have been released under a volumetric basis needs to be reported in Environmental flows (Q25). Any other basis of environmental flow releases (i.e. rules, other or unknown basis) should be excluded.



WASTEWATER (INCLUDING SEWERAGE) SOURCES, TREATMENT, SUPPLY AND DISCHARGE

How do I report in Q29 Volume of wastewater collected?
This question captures the volume and breakdown of wastewater (including sewage), stormwater and/or drainage water collected by the business/organisation.


How do I report wastewater in Q29 if it is not metered or measured?
Careful estimates are acceptable if volumes are not metered or measured. Please note that this question has tick boxes to note that this water is not metered. If you tick these boxes, you should still be providing an estimate on the volume of water for each breakdown.


How do I report in Q33 Volume of recycled water supplied to customers?
This question looks to captures the total volume of recycled (reuse) water supplied, broken down by customer type. Note that you are requested to separate water suppliers from domestic/residential and non-residential customers. If unable to provide a breakdown by customer type, please provide a careful estimate.


What do I report in Q34 Recycled water supplied non-residential customers?
This question captures the volume of recycled water supplied to non-residential customers split by activity type. Please note that the splits are activity based. The question notes to use the main activity as indicated in your own records. If you do not have any indication of activity of your non-residential customers, a careful estimate is acceptable.


What do I report in Q35 Volume of recycled water used by this business/organisation?
This question captures the volume of recycled (reuse) water used by this business/organisation. It can include recycled (reuse) water that has been collected by the business/organisation or supplied to it by another supplier.


How do I report discharged water in Q37?
This question captures the volume of wastewater, stormwater and/or drainage discharged by location. Please note that this question has tick boxes for the business/organisation to note that this water is not metered. If you tick these boxes, you should still be providing an estimate on the volume of water for each breakdown.




WATER BALANCE

What do I report in Q38?
This question and its breakdown should just be a recap of figures already provided in the survey. It is used to check reporting of water volumes such that total water received is equal to total water supplied (excluding recycled water). It is called the water balance equation.


What do I report in Q39?
This question is important as it allows you to comment on differences between total water received and total water supplied, as theoretically they should be equal.


What do I report in Q40?
This question and its breakdown should just be a recap of figures already provided in the survey. It is used to check reporting of recycled water volumes and that recycled water supply is equal to recycled water sourced.


What do I report in Q41?
This question is important as it allows you to comment on differences between total recycled water received and total recycled water supplied, as theoretically they should be equal

Back to top

Bookmark and Share. Opens in a new window

Commonwealth of Australia 2014

Unless otherwise noted, content on this website is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 2.5 Australia Licence together with any terms, conditions and exclusions as set out in the website Copyright notice. For permission to do anything beyond the scope of this licence and copyright terms contact us.