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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

August 30, 2017 Health officials are warning Texans to stay out of Harvey floodwaters for a disturbing reason

Source: Business Insider

Floodwaters act as sponges for hazards. As they bubble past city streets and inundate cars and homes, they collect sharp objects, sweep up insects and wildlife, and gather human waste.

August 28, 2017 7 reasons we’re facing a global water crisis

Source: Eco-Business

Every day brings more news of water-related troubles from around the world. Here are seven things you need to know about our escalating water crisis, and what we can do about it.

August 25, 2017 Thirsty world must wake up to looming water crisis, expert says

Source: Reuters

STOCKHOLM - The world needs to use water more efficiently rather than exhausting invisible underground supplies and blindly exporting “virtual water” to avert a global crisis that would undermine food and energy systems, a...

August 24, 2017 'Alarmingly high' levels of arsenic in Pakistan's ground water

Source: BBC

Up to 60 million people in Pakistan are at risk from the deadly chemical arsenic, according to a new analysis of water supplies.

August 21, 2017 WHY RENEWABLE ENERGY IS NOT AS CLEAN AS YOU THINK

Source: OZY

SOLAR AND WIND COMBINED ACCOUNT FOR BARELY A FIFTH OF ELECTRICITY GENERATION DEFINED AS RENEWABLE. MORE THAN 70 PERCENT OF IT COMES FROM HYDROPOWER.

August 18, 2017 Researchers to study chemical contamination of US waters

Source: ABC News

University of Rhode Island and Harvard University professors are collaborating through a new research center to study chemicals that have contaminated water at sites nationwide.

August 8, 2017 New Orleans council to look at drainage after flooding

Source: Washington Post

NEW ORLEANS — As New Orleans dried out Monday from torrential rains that flooded areas for the second time in two weeks, the City Council called a special meeting to review the drainage system and warning processes.

August 8, 2017 Government Report Finds Drastic Impact of Climate Change on U.S.

Source: NY Times

WASHINGTON — The average temperature in the United States has risen rapidly and drastically since 1980, and recent decades have been the warmest of the past 1,500 years, according to a sweeping federal climate change report...

August 7, 2017 THE FIRST STEP TO SAFE DRINKING WATER STARTS WITH ACTIONS YOU SHOULD BE TAKING NOW

Source: NewsWeek

America’s drinking water infrastructure is aging and in serious need of modernization. Pipes are overdue for replacement, and water and wastewater treatment systems need upgrades to deal with new classes of pollutants.

August 4, 2017 How Water Became the New Focus of Corporate Sustainability

Source: News Deeply

Water crises in the West have pushed some companies to apply sustainability labels to their beverages, clothes and other water-dependent products. Kellen Klein, a senior manager at Future 500, helps sort through the claims.

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