Aboriginal people in many communities in New South Wales have, until now, not enjoyed the same access to water and sewerage services as the rest of the NSW population. Evidence from international studies shows that lack of these services leads to poorer health.
Adequate quality and quantity of water are essential for drinking, food preparation and cooking, washing, waste removal, cultivation and recreation and, therefore, for health. A study of the global burden of disease found that poor water supply, sanitation, personal and domestic hygiene were responsible for 5.3% of total deaths and 6.8% of total disability-adjusted life years (DALYs) in 1990. There are a number of communicable diseases that result from poor water quality and quantity and they can be classified according to transmission route.