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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

December 18, 2014 What deluges? 11 trillion gallons of rain still needed to end California drought

Source: CNN

About 11 trillion gallons of rain, or nearly 17 million Olympic swimming pools full.That's how much water California needs to recover from its extreme drought despite downpours that cause flooding and mudslides this month, NASA...

December 18, 2014 Chemical Company Owners Could Get Prison Time For Poisoning Town's Water

Source: Gawker

The owners and operators of a chemical company that dumped 10,000 gallons of toxic chemicals into a West Virginia river last year are one step closer to facing a judge and jury of their very unhappy peers.

December 17, 2014 Forecast For 2015: Western States Face Enduring Water Crisis

Source: Popular Science

For the third year in a row, California has suffered severe drought. Reservoirs hit all-time lows, wildfires raced through dry forests, and some towns ran out of water.

December 16, 2014 Sao Paulo, Brazil, officials downplay water crisis as residents suffer

Source: LA Times

A majority of city residents recently surveyed said their water has stopped flowing at some point, usually at night. In some neighborhoods, people say their homes have no water service at all. Although scientists say that the...

December 15, 2014 California Would Need Five More Super Storms to Quell Drought

Source: Bloomberg

A slow-moving storm causing flooding and power outages in northern California would need to be replicated at least five more times for meteorologists to declare an end to the state’s historic drought.

December 12, 2014 Here's How Much the Storm Is Helping California's Epic Drought

Source: Mother Jones

In the midst of the most intense drought in hundreds of years, Northern California is being bombarded with rain (here are some crazy photos). In a state that produces roughly half of the country's fruits and veggies, the water is...

December 10, 2014 Water Terrorism: How Militant Groups Are Taking Advantage of Climate Change Impacts

Breaking Energy - The îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî (IPCC) released a recent report, issuing the strongest warning yet on the devastating impact on climate change. According to the UN report, âeven...

December 10, 2014 World without water: six solutions to a shortage

Source: FT.com

The World Bank is planning to devote up to $5bn a year to try to fix it. Goldman Sachs says it poses a risk to economic growth. And Matt Damon, the actor, has tipped a bucket of toilet water over his head to bring attention to...

December 9, 2014 More municipal bans on fracking pose setback to domestic energy boom

Source: Fox News

The surge in domestic-energy production that has created millions of new jobs and abundant natural gas and oil is now facing a potential setback, with cities across the country imposing bans on the widely-used deep-drilling...

December 8, 2014 California drought, high temperatures create worst conditions in 1,200 years: study

Source: Reuters

A combination of record high temperatures and sparse rainfall during California’s three-year drought have produced the worst conditions in 1,200 years, according to a study accepted for publication by the American Geophysical...

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