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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

October 16, 2017 Puerto Rico's Water Crisis Is More Complicated Than You Think

Source: Newsy

The lead Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee wants an investigation into water contamination in Puerto Rico. That's after a CNN report said the island's water authority is distributing water from a hazardous waste...

October 6, 2017 Plant-based bottles & edible packaging: What does sustainability look like in the bottled water industry?

Source: Beverage Daily

A focus on sustainability is becoming more and more important across all industry sectors: and the bottled water industry is no exception. Plant-based bottles, edible and biodegradable packaging, and programs on water stewardship...

October 5, 2017 Environment Is Big Winner in U.S.–Mexico Colorado River Agreement

Source: NewsDaily

A new agreement signed between the U.S. and Mexico continues an important collaboration in managing the Colorado River, but also gives new hope for reviving stretches of the river that have run dry.

October 5, 2017 Water crisis can be good for business

Source: Times

As the water crisis intensifies‚ South African companies are working furiously to meet demand for smart water restrictors.

October 2, 2017 Nestlé pays $200 a year to bottle water near Flint – where water is undrinkable

Source: The Guardian

While Flint battles a water crisis, just two hours away the beverage giant pumps almost 100,000 times what an average Michigan resident uses into plastic bottles

September 29, 2017 Puerto Rico’s Drinking-Water Crisis Isn’t Going Away Anytime Soon

Source: Mother Jones

Last week, Hurricane Maria slammed into Puerto Rico as a powerful Category 4 storm, bringing with it 20 inches of rain and 155 mile-per-hour winds. Much of the island was devastated: Nearly all of the 3.4 million people on the...

September 22, 2017 California hits Gatorade in court for "anti-water" videogame

Source: SF Gate

SACRAMENTO— Gatorade has agreed not to make disparaging comments about water as part of a $300,000 settlement reached Thursday with California over allegations it misleadingly portrayed water's benefits in a cellphone game where...

September 21, 2017 Water scarcity could be bigger problem than energy crunch - analyst

Source: Fin 24

Cape Town - South Africa’s widespread water crisis is not only being caused by a severe drought but by “political apathy”, according to an economist at Nedbank.

September 14, 2017 Contamination threat to almost 10% of water supplies - EPA Ireland

Source: RTE

Almost 10% of Ireland's public water supplies are at risk of contamination, according to the Environmental Protection Agency’s Drinking Water Report

September 13, 2017 ‘They don't have food or water’: Caribbean islands need supplies after Hurricane Irma

Source: Miami Herald

While most tourists have been evacuated, the people remaining on the Caribbean islands wrecked by Hurricane Irma are in “dire need” of water, food and shelter.

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