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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

September 11, 2014 California drought: Residents use less water, but is that enough? (+video)

Source: Christian Science Monitor

Three years into a historic drought, and in the midst of their state’s driest year on record, Californians are at long last beginning to change their behavior, water analysts say.The analysts, who say much more needs to be done...

September 11, 2014 America's Urban Water Crisis

Source: Politico.com

America was built on top of water and wastewater pipes and tunnels. And today, that foundation is crumbling right under our feet. Last year, the American Society of Civil Engineers said U.S. water and wastewater systems are close...

September 10, 2014 DEP releases updated details on water contamination near drilling sites

Source: Pittsburgh Post-Gazette

Pennsylvania regulators found an array of contaminants in the roughly 240 private water supplies they said were damaged by oil and gas operations during the past seven years.

September 10, 2014 How big is your water footprint' You may be surprised

Yahoo News - LONDON, Aug 22 (îThomson Reutersî Foundation)- If you recently bought a pair ... director of the Water Footprint Network, which promotes îsustainabilityî and efficiency of water use,...

September 9, 2014 Feature: World Water Week highlights water efficiency to eradicate hunger, poverty

Xinhua News Agency - "To counter the challenge of booming water demand we must manage it in a far smarter way," Torgny Holmgren, Executive Director of îStockholm International Water Instituteî (SIWI), said in the...

September 9, 2014 Bad News for Obama: Fracking May Be Worse Than Burning Coal

Source: Mother Jones

If you're a politician, science is a bitch; it resists spin. And a new set of studies—about, of all things, a simple molecule known as CH4—show that President Obama's climate change strategy is starting to unravel even as it's...

September 9, 2014 Shale energy is reviving US manufacturing

Source: Bakken.com

Despite a nationwide downturn in the industry over the past several years, manufacturers in or near shale drilling states are actually experiencing growth thanks to the increasing demands of oil and gas production companies....

September 8, 2014 Napa earthquake shakes loose unknown groundwater

Source: SF Gate

The San Francisco Chronicle reported Sunday that the magnitude 6.0 earthquake on Aug. 24 unexpectedly forced groundwater to the surface, filling dry creek beds and parched streams in the region.

September 8, 2014 Nova Scotia To Ban Fracking: ‘We Need To Respect The Trust The People Have Put In Us’

Source: ThinkProgress.org

Nova Scotia plans to introduce legislation to ban fracking this fall, Energy Minister Andrew Younger announced Wednesday. Younger told the CBC the ban won’t be permanent, but he didn’t have a timeline for when it might be lifted....

September 7, 2014 WRI: Shale oil, gas face tight competition for water

Oil & Gas Journal - Governments and businesses trying to develop tight oil and gas resources could face intense competition for water that would be used in hydraulic fracturing, the îWorld Resources Instituteî...

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