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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

September 1, 2015 Effective Responses to Global Water Crisis Are Largely Local

Source: Circle of Blue

STOCKHOLM-– In developing effective responses to severe drought, national governments from around the world look to local programs as sources of innovation, according to a group of global water experts convened by Circle of Blue...

September 1, 2015 Three Cities Innovate Solutions for Tackling Water Scarcity

Sustainable Cities Collective - Today marks the end of î??World Water Weekî?? in Stockholm, where experts from across the globe convene to discuss the worldâ??s water issues. To further explore water stress...

August 31, 2015 When the wells run dry: California neighbors cope in drought

Source: Bakersfield Now

Millions of Californians are being inconvenienced in this fourth year of drought, urged to flush toilets less often, take shorter showers and let lawns turn brown. But it's dramatically worse in places like Okieville, where wells...

August 31, 2015 Thirsty Middle East faces worsening water stress - researchers

Reuters - Researchers from the î??World Resources Instituteî?? (WRI) - who compiled the first index measuring competition for and depletion of surface water, such as lakes and rivers, each decade from 2010 to 2040 -...

August 28, 2015 Latin America water security depends on curbing use by agriculture – experts

Source: Reuters

STOCKHOLM– Countries in Latin America and the Caribbean must rein in their thirsty agriculture sector to ensure water security, as extreme weather takes a toll on the region’s growing cities, experts said.

August 28, 2015 Sustainability in Drinks - Investors put pressure on drinks companies' water use

just-drinks.com - î??World Water Weekî?? is an opportunity for companies to convene with other stakeholders to discuss the importance of water stewardship, and also to draw attention to their own initiatives, as...

August 28, 2015 World Water Week: Water Management Key Priority For International Oil And Gas Sector

wateronline.com - Water resource management tools Organizations such as î??World Resources Instituteî?? (WRI) provide significant data to better inform corporate decision-makers to understand the broader contexts of...

August 28, 2015 NASA research shows world sea levels rising unevenly

2KTUU - In 2013, the United Nations î??Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî?? issued an assessment that stated global sea levels would likely rise from 1 to 3 feet by the end of the century. According to Nerem,...

August 27, 2015 Arizonans, we need to take immediate action to avert a water crisis

Source: The State Press

To its credit, Arizona is one of the best-prepared states for drought in the nation. As early as 1980, the state legislature enacted policies to support water conservation and sustainable water supply. The state legislature has...

August 26, 2015 EPA withholds mine spill documents from Congress

Source: Fox News

A congressional committee blasted the Environmental Protection Agency today for blocking release of documents related to the Gold King mine disaster, which poured deadly chemicals into the largest source of drinking water in the...

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