Water accounting framework for the Australian minerals industry

The Water Accounting Framework was developed specifically for water accounting in the mining and metals industry. 

The Framework was adopted in 2011 as the culmination of more than six years of work by the MCA, University of Queensland Sustainable Minerals Institute and industry to develop a common industry approach to water accounting. 

It provides a clear, flexible approach that can be easily adapted to a range of local contexts (water and operational) and produces water metrics that are clearly defined and can be used to benchmark performance. 


Prior to its introduction, many sites and companies had established their own approaches to measuring, monitoring and reporting on water use.  As a result, approaches were often inconsistent between sites within companies or across industry.  These approaches were also not always consistent with how other sectors reported water use, limiting opportunities to benchmark against other industries.

A common agreed framework enables sites and companies to account for, report on and compare water use in a rigorous and consistent manner. It also aligns with Global Reporting Initiative frameworks, the Australian Water Accounting Standard and International Council on Mining and Metals water reporting guidance.


To support the implementation of the Water Accounting Framework, a number of guidance tools have been developed to assist minerals industry users in applying the framework. These include:

•             Water Accounting Framework User Guide

•             Input-Output Template

•             MCA Member Adoption Explanatory Note

•             Frequently Asked Questions

These documents may be updated from time to time to reflect further developments, or additional industry requirements. All guidance materials can be downloaded using the links above.

Training on applying the water accounting framework can be provided on a company specific or more general basis. Inquiries in this regard should be directed to the University of Queensland’s Sustainable Minerals Institute at www.cwimi.uq.edu.au.