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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

Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

October 1, 2015 Judge in Wyoming blocks fracking rule

Source: The Hill

A federal judge has issued an injunction against new Department of Interior regulations for hydraulic fracturing on federal land.

September 29, 2015 Global Water Crisis Is Wrong, Tragic and Unnecessary

Source: Huff Post

If you don't know about the water crisis, you should. About 2.5 billion people are affected. They lack clean water and a toilet. Each day, kids miss school, moms walk miles and families get sick from unsafe water. And too many...

September 25, 2015 Water shortage is one of the top global risks, how can we avert it?

Source: The Guardian

Growing an economy is very thirsty business. We need to double food production – but we’re already using an average 70% of the world’s fresh water for agriculture. Meanwhile industrialised countries – the US in particular – are...

September 24, 2015 Water shortage is one of the top global risks, how can we avert it?

Source: The Guardian

Unsustainable levels of water are being extracted from many of the world’s fresh water ecosystems: up to 80%-90% of water is already being used in many arid and semi-arid river basins where water is scarce, according to the World...

September 23, 2015 8 trillion microbeads pollute U.S. waters daily

Source: Valley News

Not to alarm you, but your daily morning regimen might be harming the planet's oceans, lakes and rivers.

September 22, 2015 Our Fate Tied to the Ocean's Fate

Source: Huff Post

World leaders and the international community are gathering soon at the United Nations to adopt the Sustainable Development Goals, which will guide the UN and member states for the next 15 years. A critical component of achieving...

September 21, 2015 California eases water restrictions for some farmers, others

Source: Tricity Herald

SAN FRANCISCO — The state on Friday cleared some farmers, water agencies and others to resume pumping from three Northern California waterways, easing one of the toughest restrictions stemming from the state's four-year...

September 17, 2015 The 5 Trends Behind the Water Crisis


The San Joaquin Valley in California is the epicenter of high- end agriculture, with more grapes, oranges, peaches, vegetables, almonds, and pistachios produced there than anywhere else in the US. But already parts of the Valley...

September 17, 2015 Top Rice Exporter Sees Crop at Two-Decade Low on Water Shortage

Source: AG Web

Rice production in Thailand may plunge to the lowest level in 19 years as dry weather may prompt the world’s largest shipper to further restrict plantings to preserve water supply.

September 16, 2015 Water demand from fracking less than 1 percent of U.S. total: study

Source: Reuters

Fracking by the U.S. oil and gas industry has increased the burden on the nation’s water resources, but still accounts for less than 1 percent of America’s total industrial water use, according to a paper by researchers at Duke...

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