South africa's suffering access by Emily Heng

SYDNEY, Australia's Access to Drinking Water

- 93% of households in capital cities are connected to freshly filtered water, and 85% of rural households also receive this water.


Warragamba is the largest of Sydney's five drinking water catchments. It covers a total area of 9,050 square kilometres, and is located on the west of the Great Dividing Range. Warragamba occupies north Lithgow, Coxs River in the Blue Mountains, Wollondilly River, west of Crookwell, south of Goulburn and Mulwaree River. Water provided by Warragamba Dam is used for drinking water, mining, industrial purposes, and agricultural uses, which supports dairy's, horse stud, crops etc


Most of Sydney's drinking water comes from rainwater which is stored, filtered and treated in dams to make it suitable for drinking. 80% of Sydney's water is supplied from Warragamba Dam, and 8% of residents rely on bottled water for their main source of water. However, they also use it for general household purposes such as in areas of; the bathroom, kitchen and garden. Uses in the bathroom include; showering, washing hands, flushing the toilet, brushing teeth etc. Uses in the kitchen include; washing dishes, cleaning, cooking food etc. Uses in the garden include; washing cars, watering plants, feeding animals etc.


Warragamba Dam doesn't just supply the majority of its water to residents for drinking or general use, but it also supplies water to groups and industries (specifically those who operate among the agricultural industry). This is a vital part of how the water is distributed, and it is important in itself, because if their was not enough/sufficient water supply to the agricultural industry, than crops and live stock wouldn't be able to to the standard which are acceptable to provide citizens food with. Water also helps with cleanliness, so if there is quality and quanitiful amounts, industries (specifically in health) are able to carryout and operate efficiently.


The government uses the water from Warragamba Dam very responsibly in different ways for different uses, and they provide residents with what is expected. However, there are plans arises that they recommended the dam walls of Warragamba to be raised by 23 metres to address the safety of residents in the worst possible flood and flood mitigation. This is an example, displaying how the government is well managed and responsible in a way to do water ever it takes to ensure that the water supply to the area is acceptable and sufficient for growing needs.

CAPE TOWN, Africa's access to drinking water

• South Africa has access to surface water which only 77% is used in total. Another source of water is groundwater, which only 9% use. Recycled water, with 14% use, combined with other statistics also help depicts the insufficient distribution and access to water in South Africa. Immigration and population growth is an issue which is affecting growth in rural settlements, which puts demand on South Africa’s weak water supply. Cape Town receives the majority of its drinking water from a water system which consists of a variety of rivers and dams, them main being Berg River Dam.


The Berg River Dam is a 68-metre high dam on the Berg River in South Africa. It is a part of a very complicated water system which supplies Cape Town with its water, howvere it is the main source of their drinking water. The Berg River Dam was the first dam in South Africa to be designed and constructed, and is due to be operated, in accordance with the guidelines of the World Commission on Dams. It’s water basin is of particular importance to the Western Cape region because, although the basin generates only about 3% of the country's water resources, it is supplies an area larger than most, also producing standard quality water for other resources.


There is significant difference between the poorest and richest populations in both rural and urban areas. Over 90% of the richest quintile are populated in urban areas, where water supply focuses in. This means that they get the priority of using improved water sources, shown as 60% piped water is directed in rich urban areas. However, in more rural areas, the poorest 40% doesn't have a dependable water supply, and is never insured to receive water, and 19 percent of the rural population in itself lacks access to a reliable water supply. Piped-in water is non-existent in these areas, and individuals source their water from the ground, or the natural ecosystem, which is hard to access and unreliable. Overall, inequality in Cape Town is very high as less than half of the population don't use any form of an improved source of water.


33 percent of groups and industries do not have basic sanitation services, and over 26 percent of all schools have no water access, which is a great issue because water known to be important and vital in many areas to keep a stable community and system. 45 percent of clinics no water access, which another issue, as it affects health groups, impacting the rural citizens the most. Water in agriculture is just as important in South Africa as it is in any country, as it provides the foundation to a stable economy between consumers and firm groups. There are many areas in which extremely low water supply can affect the wider world, not just South Africa.


There is a project in which the government has reinforced to help make the water source and supply in Cape Town, South Africa more sufficient. The Berg Water Project was influenced by the Trans Caledon Tunnel Authority, which helped represent the Department of Water Affairs. South Africa's water supply is/was not up to the standards of anything (especially compared to Australia's ). The project aims to improve the dam's side channel spillway, and advance the infrastructure surrounding it. The embankment currently holds a volume of 4 million meters cubed, and the gross storage capacity is of 130 million metres cubed. A development of a plunge pool will help to ensure safety of the community in case of the occurrence of worst case scenarios. The Berg Supplement Scheme, will comprise of two pump stations which have the total installed power of 25 MW. This project aims to improve their supply so that the water is efficient for not just the urban areas, but the rural areas, including groups in water demanding industries.


The water supply in South Africa is very unevenly distributed. Urban communities have a way higher upper hand, and receive water similar to what Sydney-siders receive. 19 percent of the rural population lacks access to a reliable water supply, and 74 percent rural people are entirely dependent on groundwater, which they retrieve by spending long treacherous hours to transport it back to their villages. These water sources however are not very hygienic or safe as they have not been filtered or treated. This rises the risk that consumers will become very sick. 33 percent do not have basic sanitation services, and 45 percent of clinics have no water access, meaning that treatment to people in need is insufficient. Immigration and population growth, growth in rural settlements put stress on South Africa’s water supply, creating more of an inequality in it’s distribution, affecting many industries, specifically the agricultural industry. This puts the whole business cycle out of balance, affecting the supply of crops and other products, which affects the people and citizens as there is lower food supply. Water is important in many aspect, therefore, in order to maintain a healthy population, their water source and supple must be acceptable.

However, in Australia, the water system is one of the best in the world, and it is very much reflected in the way that the country operates. This means that it is evident that the water supply is sufficient as less than 10% of the whole population has drinking water access of some kind, and that there is water equality among residents, unlike the water in South Africa. Water in Sydney comes straight from taps for easy access, which in comparison to South Africans’ water (which is accessed in a very hard way by physical transport), Sydney has the upper hand/advantage. Water in Sydney is supplied to keep up with demand, so that it can be access for anything. It is also treated to ensure that the water is up to government standards, so that prevents the risk of sickness due to it, so the government and doctors/nurses can focus their attention on helping the more critically injured. In comparison to each other, Sydney by far has the better water supply, especially when it comes to cleanliness, equality, quality and quantity which impacts a reflection on the wider country as to how effectively it runs.



1. "Berg River Dam". Web. 26 Mar. 2017.

2. Nicholls, Sean. "Warragamba Dam Wall To Be Raised To Avoid Catastrophic Flood Event". The Sydney Morning Herald. N.p., 2016. Web. 24 Mar. 2017.

3. "Warragamba Catchment". WaterNSW. Web. 25 Mar. 2017.

4. "Safe Drinking Water". Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

5. "4613.0 - Australia's Environment: Issues And Trends, 2006". N.p., 2016. Web. 27 Mar. 2017.

6. "Water Access In South Africa | Water For All". Web. 20 Mar. 2017.


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