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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.

-----

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

November 24, 2014 Water Cut-off in U.S. City Violates Human Rights, Say Activists

Inter Press Service - UNITED NATIONS, Jun 19 2014 (IPS) - When the United Nations reaches out to resolve a water or sanitation crisis, it is largely across urban slums and remote villages in Asia, Africa or Latin America and the...

November 24, 2014 The 7th World Water Forum to focus on water security & sustainability

Water Technology Online - The World Water Forum is organized by the îWorld Water Councilî in close collaboration with the authorities of the Republic of Korea and Daegu â Gyeongbuk. > 2553

November 20, 2014 Congress holds hearing on algae contamination of Lake Erie drinking water

Source: Cleveland.com

A Lake Erie algae outbreak this summer that rendered Toledo area tap water undrinkable spurred a U.S. House of Representatives subcommittee on Wednesday to examine what's being done to address problems

November 14, 2014 How China is tackling its water crisis

forumblog.org - A few years ago, at the îWorld Economic Forumîâs Summer Davos, a group of action-oriented young entrepreneurs from the Forumâs Young Global Leaders community were challenged to solve this...

November 13, 2014 Turning the tap on: Water as a business model

Al Arabiya News - Too many people in the world donât have access to safe drinking water in their homes. This monthâs meeting of the îWorld Economic Forumîâs Global Agenda Council in Dubai could be...

November 13, 2014 40 Percent Of The World's Cropland Is In Or Near Cities

NPR News - The researchers â who hail from the îInternational Water Management Instituteî, the University of California-Berkeley and Stanford University â looked at a combination of remote-sensing analyses...

November 5, 2014 Staring Down the California Drought: Looking at Solutions to Our Water Crisis

Source: Huff Post

The punishing California drought has become part of our national consciousness, with the bad news seeming to grow worse each week. Last year was the driest on record for much of the state, and in January of this year, Gov. Jerry...

November 5, 2014 C.U. Study Finds Southwest at High Risk for Decades-Long Droughts In Next Century

The Cornell Daily Sun - âInstitutions like the îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî, the Geophysical Fluid Dynamics Laboratory in Princeton, NASA and similar institutions in other countries have their own...

October 31, 2014 These Maps of California's Water Shortage Are Terrifying

Source: Mother Jones

Just how bad is California's water shortage? Really, really bad, according to these new maps, which represent groundwater withdrawals in California during the first three years of the state's ongoing and epochal drought:

October 31, 2014 Gas wastewater likely triggered 2011 quake in Colorado: USGS

Source: Reuters

Underground disposal of wastewater from gas production likely triggered a moderate earthquake in Colorado in 2011, the U.S. Geological Survey said on Wednesday in a study that may fuel debate over the impact of the U.S. energy...

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