4610.0 - Water Account, Australia, 2013-14 Quality Declaration 
ARCHIVED ISSUE Released at 11:30 AM (CANBERRA TIME) 26/11/2015   
   Page tools: Print Print Page Print all pages in this productPrint All



The Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC) is the standard classification used in Australia and New Zealand for the collection, compilation, and publication of statistics by industry.


A geologic formation which is capable of holding water and through which water can percolate. Aquifers are capable of yielding quantities of groundwater for economic activities.

Basic price

The basic price is the amount receivable by the producer from the purchaser for a unit of a good or service produced as output minus any tax payable, and plus any subsidy receivable, by the producer as a consequence of its production or sale. It excludes any transport charges invoiced separately by the producer.

Bulk entitlement

A type of water access entitlement in Victoria, issued to rural and regional water authorities, who then distribute the water to their rural and urban customers, to some electricity generating companies and to the State Minister for Environment.

Bulk water

Water supplied by a water provider to another water provider.


The area of land determined by topographic features, within which rainfall will contribute to run-off at a particular point. The catchment for a major river and its tributaries is usually referred to as a river basin.

Chain Volume Measures

Annually-reweighted chain Laspeyres volume indexes referenced to the current price values in a chosen reference year (i.e. the year when the quarterly chain volume measures sum to the current price annual values). Chain Laspeyres volume measures are compiled by linking together (compounding) movements in volumes, calculated using the average prices of the previous financial year, and applying the compounded movements to the current price estimates of the reference year.

Connected water property (residential or non-residential)

A connected water property is:

  • connected to the licensee's water system;
  • the subject of billing for water supply collection - fixed and /or consumption; and
  • any property which, at the end of the reporting period, is connected to the water system and is separately billed for the water services (fixed and/or consumption).

Cooling water

Water used for cooling purposes (e.g. for electricity generation).

Current Prices

Estimates are valued at the prices of the period to which the observation relates. For example, estimates for 2012-13 are valued using 2012-13 prices. This contrasts to chain volume measures where the prices used in valuation refer to the prices of the previous year.


A process where salt is removed from water with a high salt content (usually seawater but sometimes other brackish water) to make it suitable for domestic or industrial use.


The transfer of water or waste water (of any treatment level) from the control of a water supplier or user to the environment.

Distributed water

Distributed water is water supplied to a user including through a natural (e.g. river) or non-natural network (e.g. piped or open channel), and where an economic transaction has occurred for the exchange of this water. The majority of distributed water is supplied by the 'Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services' industry (ANZSIC Division 28). The water supply component consists of units mainly engaged in storage, purification or distribution of water by pipeline or carrier. It also includes the operation of irrigation systems that supply water to a farm and the supply of steam and hot water. Distributed water can include potable, mains and raw water but does not include reuse or bulk water.

Domestic or residential water supply

Water supplied primarily to domestic or residential customers. In rural areas this includes water supplied for stock and domestic uses.

Drainage services

The collection of water through a regional network of surface and/or subsurface drains. This water may be reused or discharged to the environment.

Drainage water

Excess surface or subsurface water collected and conveyed from irrigated lands. It may be captured for reuse or conveyed for downstream demands.

Effluent discharge

The discharge of used water by an organisation into the environment, with its associated quality characteristics, including, for example, the temperature of the discharge.

Environmental allocation

An amount of water allocated for environmental purposes and released to meet the environmental needs of a given area (e.g. a forest).

Environmental flow

This is a general term that can have a variety of meanings; the Water Account, Australia defines environmental flows to be: water delivered (released) for the purpose of the environment in accordance with a specific plan prepared in conjunction with and/or approved by the appropriate environmental (resource) regulator. Note that environmental flows can be either Planned (rules-based) or Held (entitlement-based) - see Explanatory Notes 32-34 for more details. Note that in the physical water supply and use tables, volumes of water supplied to the environment as 'environmental flows' are presented only within the regulated discharge estimates for the 'Water Supply, Sewerage and Drainage Services' and 'Electricity and Gas Supply' industries.


Process of moisture loss from the Earth's land surface to the atmosphere by evaporation and plant transpiration.


One thousand million litres.

Gross State Product (GSP)

GSP is defined equivalently to gross domestic product. It is the total market value of goods and services produced in a state within a given period after deducting the cost of goods and services used up in the process of production but before deducting allowances for the consumption of fixed capital.

Gross Value

Refers to the gross value of commodities produced. It is the value placed on recorded production at the wholesale prices realised in the market place.

Gross value of irrigated agricultural production (GVIAP)

Refers to the gross value of agricultural commodities that are produced with the assistance of irrigation.

Gross water supply

Water supplied to other water providers and customers, plus losses, own use by water providers, and environmental flows.


Water occurring below the ground's surface. Note that in the physical water supply and use tables all groundwater is included in self-extracted water. Groundwater is included in 'distributed' water estimates in cases where a water supplier extracts groundwater and then supplies it to another user.

Industry Gross Value Added (IGVA)

The value of an industry's output at basic prices, minus the value of goods and services consumed as inputs during the process of production. Basic prices valuation of output removes the distortion caused by variations in commodity taxes and subsidies across the output of individual industries.

Inland surface water

All waters on the surface of the earth, excluding sea water. Includes lakes, rivers, dams, wetlands, snow and ice.

In-stream use

The use of freshwater in situ (e.g. within a river or stream). Can include recreation, tourism, scientific and cultural uses, ecosystem maintenance, hydro-electricity and commercial activities, and dilution of waste. The volume of water required for most in-stream uses cannot be quantified, with the exception of hydro-electricity generation. In-stream use is usually a subset of self-extracted use, however in some instances in-stream can be a subset of distributed water, for example where an unplanned release of distributed water is used to dilute polluted water to an acceptable concentration for release into the environment.


Water artificially applied to soils (i.e. does not include precipitation/rainfall).

Irrigation/Rural water provider

A water provider undertaking the supply of retail irrigation water in rural areas. Functions of irrigation/rural water providers include the delivery of water for the purpose of irrigation and the collection of drainage off agricultural land through surface or sub-surface drainage systems. In addition most supply water for stock and domestic purposes and either bulk or reticulated water to service rural towns. Delivery systems can range from channel/canal to pipes to carriers and natural streams/water courses.

Kilolitre (kL)

One thousand litres.

Major urban water provider (Metropolitan)

An urban water provider servicing >50,000 water or sewerage connections. A connection corresponds to a water meter or sewerage connection regardless of the type of customer.

Megalitre (ML)

One million litres.

Mine dewatering

The process used to remove excess run-off and groundwater seepage into mines. Mine dewatering is a subset of in-stream use and self-extracted use. In some instances mine dewatering can be a subset of distributed water, for example release of mine-dewatering water for irrigation.

Minor urban water provider

An urban water provider servicing <10,000 water or sewerage connections. A connection corresponds to a water meter or sewerage connection regardless of the type of customer.

Net water supply

The quantity of water supplied to customers of the water provider. This comprises distributed water supply less: losses, environmental flows, and water used directly by the 'Water supply' industry.

Non-major urban water provider

An urban water provider servicing between 10,000 and 50,000 water or sewerage connections. A connection corresponds to a water meter or sewerage connection regardless of the type of customer.

Other industries

In the physical water supply and use tables, 'Other' industries refers to the following list of industries, according to the Australian and New Zealand Standard Industrial Classification (ANZSIC):
  • Construction
  • Wholesale trade
  • Retail trade
  • Accommodation and food services
  • Transport, postal and warehousing
  • Information media and telecommunications
  • Financial and insurance services
  • Rental, hiring and real estate services
  • Professional, scientific and technical services
  • Administrative and support services
  • Public administration and safety
  • Education and training
  • Health care and social assistance
  • Arts and recreation services
  • Other services.

Other water provider

An organisation that supplies water but whose main activity is in an industry other than the 'Water supply, sewerage and drainage services' industry (e.g. 'Mining' and 'Manufacturing').

Potable water

Water that is suitable for human consumption (e.g. drinking water).

Process water

Water used in the production of goods or the provision of services. For example, water use in the production of food, cleaning in industrial production, or water used in laundry facilities.

Produced formation water

The naturally occurring water that exists within oil and gas reservoirs.

Purchaser's price

The purchaser’s price is the amount paid by the purchaser, excluding any tax deductible by the purchaser, in order to take delivery of a unit of a good or service at the time and place required by the purchaser. The purchaser’s price of a good includes any transport charges paid separately by the purchaser to take delivery at the required time and place.

Raw water

Water extracted from the environment that has not been treated.

Recycled water

Recycled water is any water that is reused by the same organisation on-site after it has been used once, or water that would normally go down the drain but is used for another purpose. It excludes "Reuse water" (see below).

Regulated discharge

Water discharged to the environment after use where that discharge does not match the natural flow regime of the receiving water body. For example, waste water discharged into a river, ocean or land outfall by a sewerage service provider is considered a regulated discharge. Water discharged from a household is not considered to be a regulated discharge because it is usually discharged into a sewerage system, rather than directly to the environment.

Residential connections

Number of residential connections was collected in the National Performance Report (National Water Commission), and in the Water Supply and Sewerage Services Survey (WSSS) by the ABS. In both cases, a residential connection is a residential unit, or dwelling, usually separately metered.

Retail water

Potable or non-potable water supplied by a water supplier to customers not classified as water suppliers.

Reuse water

Drainage, waste or storm water that has been used again without first being discharged to the environment. It may have been treated to some extent. It excludes "on-site" recycling (see "Recycled water" above).

Revenue - Waste water (including sewerage and stormwater) services

Revenue from 'pay for use' and base rate charges (i.e. volumetric and fixed rates) for the provision of waste water (including sewerage and stormwater) services to residential and non-residential properties. Also includes revenue generated from trade waste charges and government grants and subsidies (for non-capital purposes).

Revenue - Water Supply

Revenue from 'pay for use' and base rate charges (i.e. volumetric and fixed rates) for the provision of water supply services to residential and non-residential properties. Also includes revenue generated from bulk supply or bulk sale of potable and non-potable/raw water, treated waste water or recycled (reuse) water and desalinated water and government grants and subsidies (for non-capital purposes).


The part of precipitation in a given area and period of time that appears as stream and overland flow.

Rural distributed water

Water supplied via mains, open channels or natural water ways, carted untreated water, or treated effluent supplied by water suppliers (including industries other than the 'Water supply' industry), for irrigation and other rural use.


The System for Environmental-Economic Accounting. It is a framework used to develop environmental accounts by integrating environmental information into an accounting framework. The SEEA publication provides the conceptual basis for developing a framework to describe the interrelationship between the natural environment and the economy.


The System for Environmental-Economic Accounting for Water. It is an elaboration of the SEEA and provides a conceptual framework for organising hydrological and economic information in a coherent and consistent framework.

Self-extracted water

Water extracted directly from the environment for use (including rivers, lakes, groundwater and other bodies) for the purpose of supplying to others (including other water suppliers) and own use. Also includes water produced from salt water desalination.


Infrastructure used to remove sewage (waste water).

Soil water

Soil water consists of water suspended in the uppermost belt of soil, or in the zone of aeration near the ground surface, that can be discharged into the atmosphere by evapotranspiration.

Soil water abstraction

Abstraction of soil water refers to the uptake of water by plants and is equal to the amount of water transpired by plants plus the amount of water that is embodied in the harvested product.

Storm water

Rainfall that is collected after it has run off urban surfaces.

Supply Use Framework

Physical water supply and use tables provide information on the volumes of water abstracted, supplied within the economy and discharged back into the environment by economic activity and households.

Surface water

Water flowing or held in streams, rivers and other wetlands in the landscape.System of National Accounts (SNA)

The System of National Accounts (SNA) is an international framework which can be used to develop a comprehensive, consistent and flexible set of macro-economic accounts.

Third pipe

System of distributing non-potable water to households through a 'third' pipe. The term 'third' is used because the first pipe brings potable water into the house and the second pipe takes waste water away from the house.

Unaccounted water

Unaccounted water is the difference between the measured intake volume to a supply network and the total deliveries from the network. It includes unintended outflows (due to operational errors), evaporation, seepage, leakage, measurement error and theft. It does not include environmental flows or passing flows to downstream users who are not customers of the reporting Water Service Provider.

Urban distributed water

Treated water supplied to urban areas via mains water systems.

Urban water provider

Includes major, non-major and minor urban water provider.

Waste water

Any water that has been used once and cannot be used again without treatment, for example untreated effluent, sewage water and trade waste.

Water consumption

Water consumption is equal to distributed water use plus self-extracted water use plus reuse water use minus in-stream water use minus distributed water supplied to other users.

Water losses

Water that enters the water distribution system of a water provider but does not reach the end users/customers. Water losses can be attributed to seepage, leakage, evaporation (excluding evaporation from water storages), meter inaccuracies and theft.

Water provider

A business or organisation that provides a reticulated water supply, irrigation water, reuse/recycle water and/or bulk water supply service. Water providers may be government or private and often operate water storage, purification and supply services. They may also provide sewerage or drainage services.

Water stocks

Surface and groundwater resources available in Australia for economic and environmental use.

Water supply services

Refers to the provision of reticulated water supply (including desalinated water), irrigation water, recycled (reuse) water, bulk and/or retail water supply service.

Water system

A system that is hydrologically connected and described at the level desired for management purposes (e.g. sub-catchment, catchment, basin or drainage division and/or groundwater management unit, sub-aquifer, aquifer, groundwater basin).

Water treatment plant

An individual location receiving raw or partially treated water for treatment and ultimate delivery to customers. There may be more than one water treatment plant at an individual facility. Secondary or booster disinfection plants are not included, even where they have pH correction. Water treatment plants that provide disinfection and fluoridation only should be classified as disinfection only.

Water use

Water use is equal to distributed water use plus self-extracted water use plus reuse water use. Note that this definition differs to the water consumption definition (above) in that it is a gross measure, rather than netting out the volumes of water used in-stream or supplied to other users.