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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
August 18, 2017 Researchers to study chemical contamination of US watersSource: ABC News
University of Rhode Island and Harvard University professors are collaborating through a new research center to study chemicals that have contaminated water at sites nationwide.
August 8, 2017 New Orleans council to look at drainage after floodingSource: Washington Post
NEW ORLEANS — As New Orleans dried out Monday from torrential rains that flooded areas for the second time in two weeks, the City Council called a special meeting to review the drainage system and warning processes.
Source: NY Times
WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report...
America’s drinking water infrastructure is aging and in serious need of modernization. Pipes are overdue for replacement, and water and wastewater treatment systems need upgrades to deal with new classes of pollutants.
August 4, 2017 How Water Became the New Focus of Corporate SustainabilitySource: News Deeply
Water crises in the West have pushed some companies to apply sustainability labels to their beverages, clothes and other water-dependent products. Kellen Klein, a senior manager at Future 500, helps sort through the claims.
Source: The Guardian
Deforestation and climate change appear to be amplifying droughts in the Amazon
LAST SUMMER, SOUTHERN Florida nearly ran out of water. It wasn’t drought—actually, the opposite.
July 28, 2017 Rome, City of Ancient Aqueducts, Faces Water RationingSource: NY Times
ROME — Rome’s cold, clean water has flowed through ancient aqueducts, gurgled in baroque fountains and poured incessantly from thousands of the 19th-century spouts that still grace the city streets. For millenniums, water has...
July 27, 2017 Contaminants in water are legal but still pose big health risks, environmental group saysSource: USA Today
Contaminants detected in water samples throughout the country pose health risks but are perfectly legal under the Safe Drinking Water Act, according to data released Wednesday by an environmental advocacy group.
July 25, 2017 Vatican turns off fountains as Rome gasps in droughtSource: Reuters
VATICAN CITY - Vatican authorities began on Monday to turn off some 100 fountains, including two Baroque masterpieces in St. Peter's Square, due to a prolonged drought affecting the tiny city state and the city of Rome which...
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