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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

May 23, 2016 What led to Corpus Christi’s water crisis? Depends who you ask.

Source: Caller Times

The City Council was "embarrassed" and "disappointed" last September after the city's second boil water notice in as many months was declared.

May 20, 2016 With New EPA Advisory, Dozens of Communities Suddenly Have Dangerous Drinking Water

Source: The Intercept

The EPA announced new drinking water health advisory levels today for the industrial chemicals PFOA and PFOS. The new levels — .07 parts per billion (ppb) for both chemicals — are significantly lower than standards the agency...

May 19, 2016 NAACP sues Michigan, governor over Flint's lead-contaminated water

Source: Reuters

The NAACP has filed a federal lawsuit against Michigan and its governor on behalf of the residents and businesses in Flint, where high levels of lead in the drinking water has created a health crisis.

May 18, 2016 How Monsanto's CEO Thinks We Can Feed the World - text/video

Source: Fortune

The world’s agricultural industry has a tall order to fill—it must grow twice as much on roughly the same footprint with less water all by 2050.

May 18, 2016 Why We Should Stop Calling California's Water Shortage a Drought

Source: Fortune

“As long as the public sector continues to refer to this as the drought, public policy is not going to change, because everyone is going to wait for a good rain,” he said at Fortune’s Brainstorm E conference on Tuesday in...

May 18, 2016 Oil and Gas Could Be Responsible for Nearly 90% of Texas Earthquakes

Source: Fortune

Oil and gas activities may have caused nearly nine in 10 of the earthquakes Texas has experienced in the past 40 years, and the quakes have become more frequent as oilfield activity has picked up in the past decade, according to...

May 17, 2016 Researchers in Gulf to study Shell Oil spill

Source: NOLA

Researchers are heading out to study the effects of a Shell leak of about 88,200 gallons of oil off the Louisiana coast in the Gulf of Mexico, a scientist said on Monday

May 17, 2016 U.S. top court rejects Exxon appeal in groundwater contamination case

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Supreme Court on Monday rejected Exxon Mobil Corp's (XOM.N) appeal of a $236 million judgment against the oil company in a case brought by the state of New Hampshire over groundwater contamination linked to a gasoline...

May 12, 2016 California’s Wavering Water Rules

Source: Pacific Standard

California is contemplating relaxing some of its water-saving rules at the same time it’s permanently banning other flashier, water-using habits. Governor Jerry Brown issued an order on Monday that will forever forbid hosing off...

May 10, 2016 California Governor Makes Some Water Restrictions Permanent

Source: NPR

California Gov. Jerry Brown has made some of the state's temporary water restrictions permanent. The executive order, in response to the state's drought, permanently bans wasteful practices like hosing sidewalks and washing cars...

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