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Water Quality and Quantity Issues, News and Updates

Water, water everywhere --- and not a drop to drink...”

(from The Rime of the Ancient Mariner by Samuel Taylor Coleridge)

Water – Quality & Quantity – A Very Hot Topic

Updated January 2011

Demand for water is projected to outstrip supply by a staggering 40 percent by 2030, and an estimated half the world’s population are likely to live in areas of high water stress by the same year”  -- so states  Paul Dickinson, Executive Chairman of the Carbon Disclosure Project in the CDP Water Disclosure 2010  Global Report.   The situation is getting worse rather than getting better. The pressures of over-population, climate change and increased use per capita are all causing water stresses, although unevenly, throughout the globe. 

Current impacted areas in the news include the Southwestern and Southeastern regions of the United States; China; India; Ireland; the Middle East region; Australia; and many countries in Africa.  The threat has been recognized and throughout the globe and governments, corporations and activists groups are bringing the problem to the forefront and helping to craft and influence both short and long term solutions.

Since this section was first created in 1998, the editors have screened tens of thousands of articles and posted almost 1,000 stories, commentaries and reports. Water – quality and quantity is continuing to be a Hot Topic for AC readers.  As many pundits are saying…water is becoming the new carbon.

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In 2006 the United Nations World Water Development Report described the state of water on our planet as a “crisis of governance.”  While the world appears to have enough fresh water supply today, the issue is one of governance, as in water distribution, management and quality control practices.  Water quality appears to be degrading in many areas, our monitoring tells us, and water quantity (supply) is a huge issue in many of the world’s regions.

Due to a number of factors -- mismanagement, limited area resources, and environmental changes, some caused by climate change -- almost one-fifth of the planet’s population still lacks access to safe drinking water and 40 per cent of the world’s population lacks access to basic sanitation. Access to water is further restricted by national and governmental entities that regulate where the water flows, who has access and for what purpose the water is used.  

Water is also used as an economic, health and environmental weapon by the “haves” over the “have-nots.” Governments “determine who gets what water, when and how, and decide who has the right to water and related services,” said the report authors.  Water availability is also related to a range of issues intimately connected to water, from health and food security to economic development, land use, and the preservation of the natural ecosystems on which the water resources depend.

Water quality is declining in most regions of the Earth.  Regional over- population, increased industrialization, absence of proper waste water treatment -- are all contributing to the emerging crisis. Poor water quality is a key cause of poor livelihood and health. An estimated 1.6 million lives (directly or indirectly connected to water quality issues and their related diseases) could be saved each year by providing more access to safe drinking water, sanitation and hygiene to the world’s poorest regions.

Access to water is not only a Third World or emerging nations’ issue -- droughts in the U.S. Southeast and quantity issues in the Southwest and in California have brought conservation, control and distribution issues to the public’s attention in the past few years.  Water in the United States is a key factor to residential and commercial development, economic stability and job growth – all issues which effect local and regional communities’ economic well-being. Water in the USA is critical to the health of agriculture and related industries.  Corporations are in the spotlight for their use of water – advocates and third party researchers are developing “water footprints” (similar to “carbon footprints”) for leading companies, such as Coca Cola, Nestle and other water-intensive industries and sectors.

The Editors of Accountability Central work to bring the many facets of Water issues -- especially quality and quantity -- into focus with news, commentary and research.  Education on the issues, public discussion and rising concern can help to bring about real and positive changes and sensible and fair solutions to the problems at hand.  Perhaps this public forum can help in some small way.  The Institute maintains a robust focus on water issues and the key players in its subscription Web-accessed knowledge management platform Sustainability HQ – click here for more information:www.sustainabilityhq.com.






Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

February 27, 2015 Nearly All California Voters Think Water Shortage Is A Serious Problem, Poll Shows

Source: Huff Post

SAN FRANCISCO - Nearly all California voters believe the state's water shortage is a serious problem, though they were split on whether environmental protection should be rolled back in response, according to a Field Poll...

February 27, 2015 A lot of fracking questions in Kentucky

Source: State-Journal

While landowners pleaded to senators for a moratorium on fracking during a bill hearing to update regulations on oil and gas production, some later felt silenced at a permit hearing, which could allow the first deep-well...

February 26, 2015 Fukushima operator finds new source of radiation leak into sea

Source: Reuters

TOKYO – The operator of the tsunami-crippled Fukushima nuclear power plant said on Tuesday it had found a pool of highly contaminated water on the roof of a plant building and that it had probably leaked into the sea through a...

February 25, 2015 A Thirsty, Violent World

Source: The New Yorker

Angry protesters filled the streets of Karachi last week, clogging traffic lanes and public squares until police and paratroopers were forced to intervene. That’s not rare in Pakistan, which is often a site of political and...

February 25, 2015 Ballast water monitoring on Great Lakes curbs invasive species population

Northland's NewsCenter - The news is part of a report released Thursday by the Great Lakes Ballast îWater Working Groupî. Since 2006, officials say ballast water management requirements in the Great Lakes have been...

February 24, 2015 Ocean Acidification an Ever-Increasing Problem for U.S. Shellfish

Source: Capital OTC

Marine biology researchers found that climate change influences the health of shellfish by boosting the acidification of their environments through the carbon dioxide emissions from burning fossil fuels.

February 24, 2015 Is Bolivia going to frack 'Mother Earth'?

Source: The Guardian

The momentum is building. Bolivia’s state oil and gas company YPFB announced in early 2013 it would begin studies to identify shale gas deposits, and in November that same year it gave a presentation in Santa Cruz on shale gas...

February 24, 2015 Brazil water shortage: Sao Paulo devastated by its worst drought on record

Source: Independent

As Brazil continues to battle a historic drought, millions of people in its largest city are about to run out of water. São Paulo, home to around 20 million, is experiencing its lowest rainfall since 1930, and new water-saving...

February 23, 2015 Big Cities Head for Water Crisis as Populations Explode

Source: Truth Dig

LONDON—More than 40% of the world’s great cities supplied by surface water could become vulnerable to shortages and drought by 2040, according to new research. And more than three out of 10 were already vulnerable in 2010.

February 20, 2015 Arsenic, nitrates among pollutants in California drinking water: report

Source: Reuters

California’s public drinking water systems violated safety levels for contaminants more than 1,000 times during the 2012-2013 fiscal year says a report that cites high levels in some water systems of arsenic, nitrates and other...

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