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Water Security, Is Australia Prepared?


Australia is one of the many continents that always experience various kinds of temperature as the result of its size. The temperatures always vary from place to place. In Southern Australia on the snowy mountains, the temperature can go up to below zero while in the northwest of part of the continent people experience so much heat like in the Kimberly region. The continent is slight making it virtually impossible for it to have a single season calendar. There are seasonal patterns which are translated from climatic zones that after extensive research was discovered to six. At the grassland and desert climatic zones, the seasons affecting them are winter, summer, spring and autumn which change their patterns. While in the tropical north, at the tropical, equatorial and sub-tropical zones are affected by the dry/wet patterns. Australia is a continent where it does not matter which part you are at any particular time. Every month there is always a climate change in almost all the areas of the continent.

When we talk of the temperate zone in Australia, we always refer to the New South Wales’s coastal hinterland, Tasmania, Victoria, South Australia’s corner to the Southeast and Western Australia’s southwest. Summer is always experienced from December to February. From June to August there is always winter. Australia experiences autumn from March to May and finally spring from September to November. All this just means that while other continents have their Christmas during winter, the people of Australia always have theirs during summer. The students there have their break which they always have in the middle of the year during winter. The desert and the savanna areas are also parts of the continent that hold a better part of the effect of the climatic changes.


Water security is the availability of reliable quality and quantity of water which can be used for production, livelihood, and health. A development which is sustainable will not be achieved if there is any enough water supplies to hold the daily needs of human beings, animals and plants (JäGerskog, Swain and ÖJendal 2014). The world which needs to secure the availability of water has to maintain and protect its environment. The world that has acquired its water resources has high chances of reducing poverty among human beings. The said people would have high standards of living, education which is of high quality and live a life full of prosperities.

Australia is one of the countries on earth that have started experiencing issues with it water security (Morgan 2015). This is becoming evident due to several factors like severe droughts, global warming, population growth and even degradation of the environment. Other negative factors are the competition between the people irrigating their lands, grazers who flock their animals on the water catchment areas and the supply of water to the urban areas.

Australia has gone to an extreme of wanting to privatize water. This means that the water which is owned and controlled by the government is to be given to private institutions to monitor its flow. Despite a lot of people fighting for this enactment to go through, there are others like the non-governmental organizations, community groups, political parties and other right minded individuals who see this whole scenario as a move to deny the citizens of Australia their human rights (Abbott and Cohen 2010, p.52). This topic has brought a lot of controversy in the country, bringing up other areas where public services were allowed to be privatized and later on mismanaged. There are a lot of competitions in Australia everyone trying to control the water and others fighting for a steady flow to their houses. States like the New South Wales, South Australia, and the Queensland are scrambling for the water from the Darling River system.

Population Growth

Australia has a very high population compared to other high income earning nations, and this is due to vast immigration. The continent has a tendency of more children being born with the death rate. The population always increases by 1.3 % to 1.8 % annually. Most people of the working age in most cases move to the main cities in search of jobs. This act of moving from less dense areas to populated areas looking for greener pastures always leads to overpopulation in those areas. Water becomes scarce in such areas and this in most cases leads to contraction of diseases and death to the extreme circumstances. In the coastal regions where there is enough water, the governments have secluded that part to tourism, and this has led to most people of the continent also moving there to find work and to enjoy the water. The overpopulation at those areas has resulted in contaminating the water and the water life decreasing. The continent is currently going to the state of being inhospitable to many human beings (Healey 2000). The amount of arable land and water is becoming much scarcer if it is to be compared with the total land mass. Australia has for a long time been neglected by other continents for its smallness. Standing on its own has been tough considering that their exports benefit other continents so much. After many types of research, the national population council came to a conclusion that the mismatch between the people and the distribution of the available water is widening.


In Australia drought has been one of the inevitable occurrences where most animals have fallen. As we all know, drought is very different from desert conditions. Drought is characterized by the extended period without water or getting enough of it for everyone to enjoy normally as they did. This continent is widely known to be the driest of all the others. There is no one time of the year that a part of the mainland does not experience drought.  Extinction of several species of plants and animals has been an effect from the drought. The drought started to be experienced in Australia as early as the 19th century. Since 1903 there have been an off and on drought which mostly lasted between 11 to 14 years intervals. In the 20th century, the population of sheep and cattle reduced tremendously after a major drought hit Australia from the year 1902. The drought was so bad that the Darling River dried up for over a year (Healey 2005). World War II came with a severe drought which lasted from 1937 to 1947. In 1991 Australia suffered the most severe droughts of all that continued for 3 to four years leaving the irrigated lands dry and most places declared the drought. From then up to now there have been deficiencies in rainfall (Guile 2008). These frequent droughts in Australia always leave the continent with so many hardships, the environment being damaged and the worst being experiencing financial losses. The major droughts in the history of Australia were the Federation drought which was experienced from 1895 to 1902, 1982 to 1983 and 1991 to 1995. This drought was accelerated by the immigration of rabbits to New South Wales and the overstocking of animals. The other drought was the millennium drought which was experienced from 1996 to 2010 was mostly in the southern Australia.

Global Warming

Australia as a continent has been put under the microscope on issues of global warming. This continent is well known for its rate in emissions of global warming. The vast reserves of coal in Australia make it the largest coal exporter in the world. This continent is somehow at the risk of global warming due to the stress of water, glaciers starting to shrink, the sea levels rising, and the successive increased heat waves and fires.    Researches done by Stern reviews and much more have shown that the continent is likely climate change due to the coast prominence. The global warming talked about by many has been said to be due to the vast arid and semi-arid areas in Australia (Lowe 2005). The variability of its high rainfall and the pressure which is evident on the available water is just proof of future problems. The human emissions in me their greenhouse businesses if left unchecked will only lead to global warming. Australia has experienced several bushfires in the recent years that increase the risks of global warming. Carbon dioxide released into the atmosphere over a long time and formed a layer that brings about global warming. Australia, carbon IV oxide, has been increasingly high over the past periods before the invention of the non-renewable energy. For Australia to stabilize its average temperature, it has to reduce quite a significant amount of carbon dioxide emissions from the atmosphere. It also has to reduce the greenhouse gasses that are so much of the central problem than any other. It is this global warming that has started showing its effect in the continent, making the ice melt.  Having this said, the continent has begun taking action to curb global warming producing 73 % of their electricity from renewable energy.

Environmental Degradation

Environment degradation in Australia is becoming more and more of a threat to survival. Human beings are on the top of the things that causes degradation. Deforestation means cutting down of trees which in turn leads to the salinity of the soil. The water running from these places extend their problem to other areas which make it hard for the water to be used for entirely nothing.  There are also aggressive plants that have roots which steal all the water and minerals from the once that can sustain the lives of human beings and animals (Woods 1984).

Agricultural runoff carries all the toxic materials from farms to lakes and rivers killing the aquatic living creatures. The coastal parts of Australia and the oceans are affected by the agriculture being done extensively.  Urban development always leads to more land being needed for either factories or residential. The coastline of the continent is getting more and more populated. This is so due to the formation of metropolitan centers to accommodate the increasing population. The agricultural land which is of high value is displaced day by day. Australia is becoming more and more of a degraded continent with the increase of all of the causes mentioned above.

Future Planning

The smart people in this world do not wait for the worst to happen before they start taking the necessary steps. Australia has begun doing what they can to make the existence of the citizens last. Desalination plants have been built in many areas where sea water is being purified using the technology of reverse osmosis (Herbert and Moffatt 1970). The first desalination plant in Australia was started in the year 2006 to serve the people of Perth. In the year 2011, there was yet another plant which has been under expansion day in day out due to the falling rainfall in the continent. The plants have increased the amount of money they government uses due to the construction of the renewable energy like the windmills. The private sector has also come in to help in dealing with the water issue in Australia. There have been so many public-private partnerships in this area, and it has all proved to be working for the benefit of the people of Australia. Previously this technic was only used in mining and power generating industries. But it has come to their attention that they need this mechanism for the future survival of the continent. Desalination plants, on the other hand, use a lot of energy. This, in turn, leads to so much greenhouse emissions to the environment which isn’t suitable for the weather.

Australia has several desalination plants around the continent which act as a tremendous support in the water supply. Gold Coast desalination plant provides water to the southeast Queensland and the Gold Coast. The plant produces 125 megalitres of water per day. Perth Seawater desalination plant located in Western Australia produces 130 megalitres, Sydney station in the new South was producing 250 megaliters, Victorian plant in Victoria produces 410 megalitres, southern seawater in Western Australia produces 270 megalitres, and lastly, Adelaide desalination plant located in South Australia produces 270 megalitres of water.

Australia has also begun other projects like dam construction by the Hunter Water Corporation. This dam will be constructed on the William River located in Dungog Shien. To its completion, the dam is estimated to hold 450 billion liters of water which will help a lot in the sustainability of life (Romanowski and Romanowski 2009). Queensland is also doing extensive research on how it could build a pipeline from the river of New South Wales so that the trade of water can help its Southeast. Without water in these areas, life is always tough and crime sometimes set in. There is a scheme of Old River irrigating a vast track of land. This project created a human-made lake which is considered to be the biggest lake in Australia. The government is also planning to slash the water flowing from Lachlan River from flowing on the western side of Condoblin.  A part of the river will only be allowed to flow so that its viability is seen and enjoyed by the people who need the water the most.

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