Water Resources Management

, Volume 24, Issue 3, pp 513–545 | Cite as

A Water Accounting System for Strategic Water Management

  • Graham M. Turner
  • Timothy M. Baynes
  • Bertram C. McInnis


This paper describes a water accounting system (WAS) that has been developed as an innovative new tool for strategic long-term water management. The WAS incorporates both disaggregated water use and availability, provides a comprehensive and consistent historical database, and can integrate climate and hydrological model outputs for the exploration of scenarios. It has been established and tested for the state of Victoria in Australia, and can be extended to cover other or all regions of Australia. The WAS is implemented using stock-and-flow dynamics, currently employing major river basins as the spatial units and a yearly time step. While this system shares features with system dynamics, learning is enhanced and strategic management of water resources is improved by application of a Design Approach and the structure of the WAS. We compare the WAS with other relevant accounting systems and outline its benefits, particularly the potential for resolving tensions between water supply and demand. Integrated management is facilitated by combination with other stocks and flows frameworks that provide data on key drivers such as demography, land-use and electricity production.


Water accounts Stocks and flows Water budgets Decision support systems Strategic management 


Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Unable to display preview. Download preview PDF.

Supplementary material

11269_2009_9457_MOESM1_ESM.doc (1005 kb)
A Water Accounting System for Strategic Water Management (DOC .98 mb)


  1. ABS (2006) Water account Australia 2004–05. Australian Bureau of StatisticsGoogle Scholar
  2. Baynes TM, Turner GM, West J (2009) Historical calibration of a water accounting system; CSIRO SEED Working Paper 28 <>
  3. DRW (1989) Water Victoria: a resource handbook. State Government of Victoria Department of Water Resources, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  4. Dunlop M, Turner G, Foran B, Poldy F (2002) Decision points for land and water futures. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Resource Futures Program, National Futures, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  5. Foran B (2003) Between a rock and a hard place: Australia’s population options to 2050 and beyond. In: Vizard S, Martin HJ, Watts T (eds) Australia’s population challenge: the 2002 Australian population summit. Penguin, Melbourne, pp 117–139Google Scholar
  6. Foran B, Poldy F (2001) Modelling physical realities: designing and testing future options to 2050 and beyond. In: Venning J, Higgins J (eds) Towards sustainability: emerging systems for informing sustainable development. UNSW Press, Sydney, pp 165–195Google Scholar
  7. Foran B, Poldy F (2002) Future dilemmas: options to 2050 for Australia’s population, technology, resources and environment. Report to the Department of Immigration and Multicultural and Indigenous Affairs, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  8. Gault FD, Hamilton KE, Hoffman RB, McInnis BC (1987) The design approach to socio-economic modelling. Futures 19(1):3–25. doi:10.1016/0016-3287(87)90036-X CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  9. Hameed T, Podger G (2001) Use of the IQQM simulation model for planning and management of a regulated river system. Integrated Water Resources Management (272):83–89Google Scholar
  10. Jones RN, Durack PJ (2005) Estimating the impacts of climate change on Victoria’s runoff using a hydrological sensitivity model. CSIRO Atmospheric Research, MelbourneGoogle Scholar
  11. Kearney B, Foran B, Poldy F, Lowe DB (2003) Modelling Australia’s fisheries to 2050: policy and management implications. Fisheries Research and Development CorporationGoogle Scholar
  12. Kenway S, Turner G, Cook S, Baynes TM (2008) Water-energy futures for Melbourne—the effect of water strategies, water use and urban form. CSIRO Water for a Healthy CountryGoogle Scholar
  13. Kirby M, Van Dijk AIJM, Mainuddin M, Peña-Arancibia J, Guerschman J-P, Liu Y, Marvanek S, McJannet DL, Paydar Z, McVicar TR, Van Niel TG, Li LT (2008) River water balance accounting to evaluate model adequacy and uncertainty in climate and development scenario assessment. In: Water down under. AdelaideGoogle Scholar
  14. Loucks DP, van Beek E (2005) Water resources systems planning and management: an introduction to methods, models and applications. In: Studies and reports in hydrology. Publishing U, UNESCO Publishing, ParisGoogle Scholar
  15. Lowe D, Poldy F, Kearney B, Foran B, Turner G (2003) Australian fish futures: 2020 and beyond. Report to the Fisheries Research and Development Corporation, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, Resource Futures Program, National FuturesGoogle Scholar
  16. Neal B, Radcliffe J, McMahon T, Nathan R (2007) Urban water—review of water supply planning for Australia’s non-metropolitan urban water utilities. The Australian Academy of Technological Sciences and Engineering, Parkville, VictoriaGoogle Scholar
  17. O’Neill G (2008) Supermodelling the Murray–Darling. In: Ecos, pp 8–11Google Scholar
  18. Perera BJC, James B, Kularathna MDU (2005) Computer software tool REALM for sustainable water allocation and management. J Environ Manag 77(4):291–300. doi:10.1016/j.jenvman.2005.06.014 CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  19. Poldy F, Foran B, Conroy J (2000) Future options to 2050: Australian stocks and flows framework. Report to Department of Immigration and Multicultural Affairs; 00/04, CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems (previously Wildlife and Ecology), Resource Futures Program, National Futures, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  20. Silva-Hidalgo H, Martin-Dominguez IR, Alarcon-Herrera MT, Alfredo G-O (2008) Mathematical modelling for the integrated management of water resources in hydrological basins. Water Resour Manag 23(4):721–730CrossRefGoogle Scholar
  21. SKM (2006) Australian Water Resources 2005: Supporting information—level 2 data request. National Water CommissionGoogle Scholar
  22. Turner GM, Baynes TM, West J (2007a) Combined pressures and climate change impacts on the Victorian water system and possible responses. In: Oxley L, Kulasiri D (eds) MODSIM 2007—International congress on modelling and simulation; land, water & environmental management: integrated systems from sustainability. Christchurch, NZ, pp 567–573Google Scholar
  23. Turner GM, Baynes TM, West J (2007b) Victorian regional scenarios—interactions of demographics, land-use, electricity, water and climate systems. CSIRO Sustainable Ecosystems, CanberraGoogle Scholar
  24. UNSD (2007) System of environmental–economic accounting for water. United Nations Statistical DivisionGoogle Scholar
  25. whatIf (2008) whatIf Technologies Incorporated. Available from:
  26. Winz I, Brierley G, Trowsdale S (2008) The use of system dynamics simulation in water resource management. Water Resources ManagementGoogle Scholar
  27. Zhang L, Dawes WR, Walker GR (1999) Predicting the effect of vegetation changes on catchment average water balance. Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment Hydrology, and CSIRO Land and WaterGoogle Scholar
  28. Zhang L, Dowling T, Hocking M, Morris J, Adams G, Hickel K, Best A, Vertessy R (2003) Predicting the effects of large-scale afforestation on annual flow regime and water allocation: an example for the Goulburn–Broken catchments. Cooperative Research Centre for Catchment HydrologyGoogle Scholar

Copyright information

© Springer Science+Business Media B.V. 2009

Authors and Affiliations

  • Graham M. Turner
    • 1
  • Timothy M. Baynes
    • 2
  • Bertram C. McInnis
    • 3
  1. 1.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsCanberra CityAustralia
  2. 2.CSIRO Sustainable EcosystemsNorth RydeAustralia
  3. 3.whatIf? Technologies Inc.OttawaCanada

Personalised recommendations