Vanuatu vs. Australia ACCESS TO DRINKING WATER



Warragamba Dam is located west of Sydney and covers an area of 9050 square kilometres. It joins with the Wollondilly and the Coz’s river systems (which is and supplies water to more than 80% of Sydney’s water (over 1600000 people) which is why it is so important that the water in Warragamba dam is looked after carefully and thoroughly.

There are multiple management strategies under way to keep the water in perfect, safe condition as it is not filtered at the dam. These strategies include:

On Ground Activities

- Pest and weed control

- Hazard reduction burns

- Erosion control

- Monitoring


- Education of Council Staff

- Community Education

Grants and Funding

- Fencing

- Pumps and troughs

- Erosion control barriers

Planning, development controls, regulation

- State Environmental Planning Policy (Sydney Drinking Water Catchment) 2011

Warragamba dam took over 12 years to build and in the process over 3 million tonnes of concrete were used. Lake Burragorang is the body that lies behind the dam and it is the largest water supply to urban area in all of Australia. The Warragamba Dam wall is 142 metres high and when the lake is at 100% capacity, it can hold more than2,027,000,000,000 litres (2027000 megalitres). Unfortunately, the places around Sydney where there are high rainfall levels do not fall into the catchment area which means that the water that is collected in those areas doesn’t run into the Warragamba dam catchment zone.

Warragamba dam facts:

- Height: 142 metres

- Length: 351 metres

- Thickness at top: 85 metres

- Thickness at base: 104 metres

- Width of central spillway: 90 metres

- Width of spillway at base: 190 metres

- Length of spillway: 700 metres

This pie chart shows Sydney's water consumption per capita.

Australia, particularly Sydney, consume very high amounts of water which is why it is so important that this water is managed properly and carefully. The Sydney Catchment Authority (SCA) is responsible for managing Sydney's water supply. The roles of the SCA include: to protect public health and safety as well as the environment, maintain quality water supply and to supply water to customers. The five primary catchment areas that the Sydney Catchment Authority are: Warragamba Dam, Upper Nepean dams, Woronora Dam, Blue Mountain Dams and Shoalhaven system

Daily, Warragamba Dam supplies 1,064ML and approximately 91,904ML per week. This shows the importance and reliance on Warragamba dam as it puts into perspective how many people rely on this water source. The management processes involved with ensuring the water supplied by Warragamba dam is of a high quality are very specific and there are lots of people involved with the process.

This map outline the Warragamba Dam catchment area.



Vanuatu is a small, undeveloped country located in Oceania, South Pacific Ocean. The population of Vanuatu is 266,937 (1.08% of Australia’s population) and more than half of those people don’t have access to safe, clean drinking water. Many local people in Vanuata are forced to drink from nearby rivers or lakes that are far from clean, with high amounts of sediments and bacteria. There is an incredibly high risk of catching a water borne disease drinking the water such as diarrhoea, Hepatitis A and cholera.

The video above shows what it is like to live in a local Vanuata village and not have an adequate supply to safe drinking water. It also shows the way Vanuata is slowly progressing in it water technology and sanitation.

There are management plans in place to try and improve the water quality in Vanuata, one of which is from the Anglican Board of Mission (ABM) who are supplying water to Ni-Vanuatu people. As well as the Anglican Board of Mission, other groups that are working to improve Vanuata's water quality are:

- Caritas Australia

- United Nations Children's Fund (UNICEF)


- National Water Strategy for Vanuatu (NWS)

Port Vila is the capital of Vanuatua with a population of 44,039. Vanuatu gets most of its water from an underground supply . The way this system works is through the six boreholes which the water is pumped through to two buffer tanks. This water is treated with chlorine to make it more suitable for drinking. Once the water is treated it is pumped to the Facio and Perchoir reservoirs where it is then distributed directly to consumers.

Unfortunately for Ni-Vanuatu people, they do not have a water supply like Warragamba dam and water is a lot less accessible. This results in a lot of locals drinking more soft drinks than water as it as a lot more easily accessible and cheaper. This, the contributes to the high levels of diabetes in Vanuatu. Another thing that contributes to the poor quality in drinking water was Cyclone Pam that occurred in 2015. Cyclone Pam did more than $250,000,000 of damage as all the wells and water supply systems were greatly damaged.

Unfortunately for the Ni-Vanuatu people, they do not have the luxury of clean and safe drinking water like we do and they are often forced to drink from dirty and unsanitary rivers and lakes.

Sydney VS Vanuatu

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