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Tello Melendez, Edward

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  • Paper Title: Perspectives of Potential Users of Water Accounting Reports: An Accountability Point of View
  • Department Affiliation: Accounting and Corporate Governance
  • Supervisor's Names:
    • Doctor Lorne Cummings
    • James Hazelton

Purpose:

This paper explores the perceptions of potential users of water accounting reports prepared under Standardised Water Accounting (SWA), reflected in the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standard 1 (ED AWAS 1), and, in particular, their perceptions regarding the discharge of accountability by water managers. Efficient and effective water management is an important element in alleviating water crises caused by misuse of water resources.   

Key literature/theoretical perspective:

The theoretical framework adopted is Accountability. This concept is explored in depth across three main ideas: power, the accountability relationship and transparency.   

Design/methodology/approach:

The research method adopted in this paper is mixed method. A questionnaire was administered to users with water-related interests in five different water-related seminars yielding 36 usable responses. The qualitative part will be carried out by analysing the submissions made by stakeholders to the Water Accounting Standards Board regarding ED AWAS 1.      

Findings:

The majority of respondents perceive that it is useful to use a standard system to prepare water accounting reports (applying SWA). Moreover, the majority of potential users are unsure about the effectiveness of such reports in discharging the accountability of water managers, and a significant number of stakeholders were unaware of its development. 

Research limitations/implications:

Whilst the questionnaire was administered at key water-related seminars, the response rate was low at approximately 21%. Future research might complement this quantitative analysis with a qualitative study of user perceptions. 

Practical implications:

Stakeholders have interest in the current SWA project. It is therefore important to identify the information needs of stakeholders. 

Originality/value:

SWA is currently ongoing in Australia and the Exposure Draft of Australian Water Accounting Standard 1 was issued in mid-2010. The study has sought to overcome the limited research undertaken to date to explore the perceptions of potential users of water accounting reports under SWA.    

Keywords:

Water, water accounting, users, social and environmental accounting, Australia