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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

January 26, 2015 Brazil’s worst drought in history prompts protests and blackouts

Source: The Guardian

The taps have run dry and the lights have gone out across swathes of Brazil this week as the worst drought in history spreads from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

January 26, 2015 Industries That Lose In A Global Water Crisis

ETF Daily News - Alcohol giant Diageo (NYSE: îDEOî) is best known for brands like Johnny Walker ... the coffee industry will pay a heavy price. According to îthe Water Footprint Networkî it takes 880...

January 22, 2015 Rising Temps Causing Greenland's Meltwater Lakes to Drain at Dramatic Rate

Source: Nature World News

Rising temperatures are causing Greenland's meltwater lakes to drain at a dramatic rate, disappearing in a matter of just a few weeks, according to a new study.

January 21, 2015 Water Crisis: Filthy, Liquid Death In Montana, Washington, Kiev, Everywhere!

Source: Wonkette

From an oil spill of 50,000 gallons in the Yellowstone river to a federal ruling on an “imminent and substantial” health threat in East Washington from dairy manure, water contamination stories flooding the news are probably no...

January 20, 2015 Brazil’s Largest Water Reservoir’s Running Dry

Source: RYOT

Halfway through the rainy season, the key reservoir for the hemisphere’s largest city holds just 6 percent of its capacity, and experts warned Friday that Sao Paulo authorities must take urgent steps to prevent the worst drought...

January 20, 2015 Solar-powered seawater desalination research contract signed in Abu Dhabi

Source: Water World

A research contract to study seawater desalination using solar power was signed by Abu Dhabi Future Energy Company, Masdar Institute of Science and Technology, GDF SUEZ and SUEZ ENVIRONNEMENT in the presence of Ségolène Royal,...

January 20, 2015 California’s Forests: Where Have All the Big Trees Gone?

Source: National Geographic

California has lost half its big trees since the 1930s, according to a study to be published Tuesday in the Proceedings of the National Academy of Sciences—and climate change seems to be a major factor.

January 19, 2015 Scottish government decision on fracking imminent

Source: The Guardian

Campaigners in Scotland believe a series of imminent decisions could force the SNP government to come off the fence on fracking. This week SNP MPs will have an opportunity to vote on an amendment to the infrastructure bill, a...

January 15, 2015 Rise in sea levels is 'faster than we thought'

Source: Telegraph(UK)

Sea levels have risen significantly faster in the last two decades than has been thought, according to new research. Previous estimates had indicated that sea levels rose between 1.5 and 1.8 millimetres per year throughout the...

January 15, 2015 Customers to conserve water; Lake Erie ice limiting supply -text/video

Source: ABC Cleveland

Nearly 200,000 water customers in Avon, Avon Lake, Medina were asked Sunday to take part in a voluntary water cut-back because of intake issues at the Avon Lake Water Regional Water Plant.

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