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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

July 17, 2015 California flexes muscles in water tussle with farmers

Source: SF Gate

California water regulators flexed their muscles on Thursday by ordering a group of farmers to stop pumping from a branch of the San Joaquin River amid an escalating battle over how much power the state has to protect waterways...

July 16, 2015 Britain should avoid deep injection shale wells: task force

Source: Reuters

Britain should steer clear of using deep injection wells in shale oil and gas “fracking” and take extra steps to reduce the technique’s environmental and health effects, an industry-funded task force examining the sector said on...

July 15, 2015 Fracking in UK 'could be safe' under tighter regulation

Source: BBC News

Fracking could potentially be done safely in the UK under "rigorous regulation", but it is too early to say whether it would be "a good idea", the Task Force on Shale Gas has reported.

July 15, 2015 Water Crisis Brings Out Puerto Rico’s Creative Side

Source: NY Times

SAN JUAN, P.R. — On an island that is flirting with default, fending off comparisons to Greece and losing its people to the mainland, the biggest problem most people face is something more elemental — one of the worst droughts in...

July 15, 2015 California landscapers making a mint off the drought

Source: CNN Money

The drought's been rough for a lot of people in California. Farmers, gardeners, restaurant diners who just want a glass of water.

July 14, 2015 The most amazing truth about California's water crisis

Source: American Thinker

In the summer of 2002, shortly before I was elected to Congress, I sat through an eye-opening meeting with representatives from the Natural Resources Defense Council... they told me something astonishing:

July 13, 2015 Sixteen Attorneys General File Suit to Block EPA Waters Rule

Source: Legal Insurrection.com

The Obama EPA’s “Waters of the U. S.” power grab has come under a lot of scrutiny and resistance, and rightly so. In addition to citizen outrage and push back from Congress, the EPA is now facing two lawsuits filed by the...

July 10, 2015 Torrential rains increasing in warming world: study

Source: Reuters

Torrential rains have become more frequent worldwide since 1980, with Southeast Asia getting the biggest increase in downpours, a scientific study said on Tuesday

July 10, 2015 Governor of drought-parched Oregon to order water usage review

Source: Reuters

Oregon’s governor plans to order state agencies to review their water usage and to draft strategies to conserve water in the parched state, following similar moves in neighboring drought-stricken California, a spokesman said on...

July 9, 2015 ProPublica Documents The West's Water Crisis In 'Killing The Colorado' - audio

Source: NPR

Renee Montagne talks to Propublica's Abrahm Lustgarten about the Colorado River's falling water levels, and how flawed water policies and mismanagement are to blame — in addition to the drought.

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