Comparison between Nepal and Australia's Freshwater. Why does Nepal, the world’s most abundant freshwater country still lack drinking water? by Mia carlton

The United Nations HDI (Human Development Index) has ranked Australia for having the world’s second-best quality of life out of the 187 nations on the index. Contrasted to Nepal, which on the HDI was ranked number 145 out of the 187 nations. Although, Australia has been ranked on the HDI for the second best quality of life the country is still very wasteful when it comes to water management, using on average 341,000 litres of fresh water per person annually. Compared to Nepal and other developing nations, which use approximately 7,300 litres per person annually. Naturally as Australia is a developed country and Nepal is a developing country, the two nations have very different methods when it comes to access to drinking water and water rights.

Nepalese people collecting water from a community water tap.

Nearly 70% of the earth is covered by water but only 2.5% of the water is fresh but due to majority of the freshwater being trapped in glaciers and snow only 1% of the freshwater is easily accessible. In Australia 100% of our growing 24 million populations, have access to clean drinking water compared to Nepal where only 88.1% of the expanding 27.8 million populations have access to clean drinking water; meaning that 11.9% of the Nepalese people do not have access to drinking water. In Australia we have instant access to fresh water by simply turning the tap, which is located inside our house. In Nepal one in every five Kathmandu households have no access to a domestic water source and two-thirds of the Kathmandu urban households live with an inadequate water supply.

Recently in Nepal the government has installed taps in majority of households but the water from is only released for half an hour from the government-installed taps this leaves the Nepalese people with no other option but to buy from the local citizens who sell water from tanks. In Sydney, Australia the main supply of water is Warragamba dam. Warragamba dam stores 80% of Sydney’s water and due to Australia’s technology each day the temperature, pH, DO, EC and turbidity levels are tested to meet the Australian Drinking Water guidelines and to ensure the people of Sydney are drinking and using the best quality water. However, In Nepal the health and safety regulations are nowhere near Australia’s and technology does not exist to check whether the temperature, pH, DO, EC and turbidity levels meet health and safety regulations. Although Nepal is the world’s most abundant freshwater country, Australia due to technology and accessibility has much higher access to water.

Fresh Drinking Water

The United Nations has listed one of the most essential and important human rights are the right to water. In Australia the government ensures that the human right to water is fulfilled as each Australian household has access to fresh drinking water. However, in Nepal the government attempts to ensure that the human right to water is fulfilled but due to the country having lower income to spend on the developing the country, the water regulations standards and access to water are much lower than Australia’s. In Nepal over 600 children under five die each year from diarrhoea which is caused by unsafe water and poor sanitation. Meaning, although Nepalese people have the right to water the rules and regulations are not strict enough to ensure they are drinking safe and clean drinking water.

The average Australian earns $78,832 a year and pays high rates of tax this means that government collectively has large some of money to ensure that the water is filtered each day and tested to ensure its clean. In Nepal the average person earns the equivalent to $896.50 per year and tax only applies when over $400,000 is earned and then 25% is taxed, this means that the government collectively does not have the same amount of money to spend on improving the quality of water. Although both the Australian and Nepalese people have the right to fresh water, due to the development and health regulations between the two countries Australia has a higher amount of fresh drinking water.

One of Australia's many methods of water treatment: Water Treatment Pod.

Water management defers between both Australia and Nepal. Australia is terrible when it comes to conserving water although it is the world’s driest continent; this carefree attitude means that we use 341,000 litres per person annually. This is not efficient considering that water is a precious source and we need to conserve it as much as possible. Australian environmentalists have stated, “Water should be renegotiated to protect this increasingly threatened and essential natural resource.” In Nepal although it is the world’s most abundant freshwater country, it still lacks accessible drinking water. Due to this the Nepalese people are efficient when it comes to the use of water and only use approximately 7,300 litres per person annually of fresh water. As the attitude towards water management in Nepal is “conserve each drop and do not let any water go to waste.”

Water management strongly defers between the developed country Australia and the developing country Nepal.

Warragamba Dam


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