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Survey Participant Information - Water Supply and Sewerage Services Survey - FAQs
 

Water Supply and Sewerage Services Survey - Frequently Asked Questions

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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 on the form?(Q1)
How accurate do the figures need to be?
Do I need to provide financial data and volume data?
Do I need to complete the ABS form if I provide similar data to other government agencies?
I am unable to provide data on volumes of water because it is not metered/not measured?
I am unable to provide the required split by customer type? (Q18 & Q34)
The survey is not applicable/not relevant to me?


What do I do if the reporting period of my business is different to the one specified on the form?(Q1)
Question 1 allows the business/organisation to specify the reporting period used for financial information (revenue, expenditure and capital expenditure).
The reporting period for volume information however is strictly from 1 July 2012 to 30 June 2013. If there is a different reporting period, or if the information only applies to part of this period, please include a comment to that effect in the comments section at the end of the form.

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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 this business's/organisation's accounts 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).

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Do I need to provide financial data and volume data?
Yes. This survey requires you to report both financial data and volume data. If you are unable to report on any part of this survey and know of another person in your business/organisation that can report the data, please pass the survey onto that person. 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.

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Do I need to complete the ABS form 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), then the form should be completed. If you have concerns regarding major duplication of data, please contact the freecall number on 1800 066 744 (excluding mobile phones) for further assistance.

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I am unable to provide data on volumes of water because it is not metered/not measured?
Careful estimates are acceptable for all data items, where data is not metered or measured. ABS acknowledges that some aspects of water supply and use may not be metered. Some questions (Q29 and Q37) have tick boxes where you can indicate that the data provided is an estimate based on whether or not water is metered.

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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.

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The survey is not applicable/not 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 form carefully and complete any part of the form that is 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.

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BUSINESS CHANGES

Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation was sold during the 2012-13 financial year?
Do I still need to completed the form if the business/organisation was sold before the start of the 2012-13 financial year?
What do I do if the business/organisation is still operating but didn't trade during 2012-13 financial year?
Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation has gone into liquidation/administration during the 2012-13 financial year?
Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation operated part way through 2012-13 financial year?

Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation was sold during the 2012-13 financial year?
Yes, the form should be completed using figures up to and including the day that the business 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 form. 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 in the Comments section of Question 1 or at the rear of the form.

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Do I still need to completed the form if the business/organisation was sold before the start of the 2012-13 financial year?
No, however, please contact the freecall number on 1800 882 362 (excluding mobile phones). This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business/organisation reminder letters to return the form.
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What do I do if the business/organisation is still operating but didn't trade during 2012-13 financial year?
Please contact the freecall number on 1800 882 362 (excluding mobile phones). This will enable the ABS to stop sending the business/organisation reminder letters to return the form.

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Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation has gone into liquidation/administration during the 2012-13 financial year?
Yes, please complete the form using figures up to and including the day that the business 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 form. 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 882 362 (excluding mobile phones) for further assistance.

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Do I still need to complete the form if the business/organisation operated part way through 2012-13 financial year?
Yes, using figures starting the day that the business commenced operations.

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

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REVENUE ITEMS

How do I tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of bulk water, or the provision of retail water?
What do I include in question 3?
How do I report revenue that cannot be easily separated across differing services?
What do I include in question 3(c)?
What do I include in question 3(d)?
How do I tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of wastewater (including sewerage) services?
How do tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of drainage and stormwater services?


How do I tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of bulk water, or the provision of retail water?
Bulk water is water (potable or non-potable) supplied by a water supplier to another water supplier. Retail water is water (potable or non-potable) supplied by a water supplier to customers who are not water suppliers.

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What do I include in question 3?
Include revenue received from sales and services of water supplied to either other suppliers (report in (a)), and /or supplied directly to customers (report in (b)).

Government grants for non-capital purposes and other revenue from drainage and stormwater services are also included (report in (c)).

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How do I report revenue that cannot be easily separated across differing services?
If unable to split out recycled (reuse) water supply, careful estimate is acceptable.

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What do I include in question 3(c)?
This question aims to capture revenue from government grants/subsidies for non-capital purposes from sales and services of water 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.

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What do I include in question 3(d)?
This question looks to capture other types of revenue from the water supply services only. This could include revenue from interest income, developer contributions, termination/cancellation fees etc.

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How do I tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of wastewater (including sewerage) services?
Wastewater service is the removal, treatment and disposal of wastewater that is discharged into a sewerage or stormwater drainage system.

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How do tell if my business/organisation receives revenue for the provision of drainage and stormwater services?
Drainage services 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 management of stormwater through a network of surface and/or surbsurface drains to provide controlled release into receiving streams.

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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?
What should I include in operation and maintenance expenditure 8(b)?
How do I report expenses that cannot be easily separated across differing services?
What if I am unable to give careful estimates for the different types of water services?
What do I report in question 8(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.) are NOT included in this question, include in (Q8(b)).

This question can include 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.

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

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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 can include self-sourced water expenses (Q8(b) (i)), wastewater (including sewerage) services expenses (Q(8(b) (ii)) and drainage and stormwater services expenses (Q(8(b) (iii)).

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.

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How do I report expenses that cannot be easily separated across differing services?
If unable to provide split data for the different types of water services, careful estimates are acceptable.

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What if I am unable to give careful estimates for the different types of water services?
If you are unable to provide careful estimates for the different types of water services, please ensure that as a minimum you include a total amount in the total field.

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What do I report in question 8(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.

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CAPITAL EXPENDITURE

How should I report capital expenditure?
How should I report in Question 9(a) (b) & (c)?
What is Capital Expenditure?
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.

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How 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).

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What is Capital Expenditure?
The following are examples of some common types of acquisitions reported under Capital Expenditure for water services (Q9):
    • Dams, weirs, reservoirs, levee banks, bores and pumps, mains and networks, storage facilities, and sewage & water treatment plants;
    • All costs capitalised in the books of this business/organisation (including legal fees, real estate transfer costs and assets acquired under finance leases);
    • Progress payments made to contractors for capital work done by them;
    • Mobile plant, machinery, equipment and vehicles used in operations;
    • Buildings, structures and systems assets, computer equipment, furniture and office equipment;
    • Capitalised work done by own employees in manufacturing, constructing or installing assets or;
    • in developing computer software in-house for use by this business/organisation or for rental or lease.

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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.

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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.
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WATER SOURCES

What should I report in Water Sources?
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.

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)?
This question captures the volume of water which has been self-sourced. Four splits have been provided and the majority of reporting should be in (a) (b) and (c). Note that the sea water used for desalination should be included.

Please report the amount of water actually obtained, not the amount which you are entitled to.

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WATER SUPPLY AND USE

How should I report in the Water Supply question?
There is insufficient space to list out all our water suppliers we supply to?
What do I include in (Q17)?
What is the difference between fire services (reported under Own use - other Q21(b)) and fire-fighting (reported under Non-residential supply Q17(b) and Institutional usage Q18(i))?
How should I report in (Q18)?
How should I report in (Q19)?
How should I report in (Q20)?
How should I report in (Q21)?


How should I report in the Water Supply question?
This question captures the volume of water supplied to other waters suppliers. Self-sourced water, which is then supplied to other water suppliers, would be included in this question.

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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.

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What do I include in (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.

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What is the difference between fire services (reported under Own use - other Q21(b)) and fire-fighting (reported under Non-residential supply Q17(b) and Institutional usage Q18(i))?
Water supplied at cost (or near cost) to businesses that engage in fire protection or emergency services is considered water used for fire-fighting services and should be reported in Non-residential supply Q17(b) and again under Institutional usage Q18(i). This water is generally used by these businesses for building amenities and maintenance/inspection of fire protection systems.

Water which is taken directly from the water supply system (e.g. via fire hydrants) by fire protection or emergency services in the course of delivery of their services should be considered water for fire services and thus reported as Own use - other Q21(b).

Leakages or bursts from hydrants should be considered water losses and reported under Real losses Q23(b).

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How should I report in (Q18)?
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 this business's/organisation's own records, if you do not have any indication of activity of the non-residential customers, a careful estimate is acceptable.

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How should I report in (Q19)?
This question captures the amount 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.

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How should I report in (Q20)?
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.

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How should I report in (Q21)?
This question captures the volume of water used by your business/organisation. It excludes water losses.

It can include water that is sourced from other water suppliers or self-sourced.

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WATER LOSSES

Should evaporation be included in Losses Q23?
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.

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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.

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

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

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How do I report wastewater if it is 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.

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How do I report for (Q33)?
This question looks to captures the total volume of recycled (reuse) water supplied, broken down by customer type. Note that there is an option here to separate water suppliers from domestic/residential and non-residential customers. If unable to provide a breakdown by customer type, a careful estimate is acceptable.

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What do I report in (Q34)?
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.

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What do I report in (Q35)?
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.

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How do I report 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.

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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


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