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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

April 22, 2015 California isn’t the only state with water problems

Source: Business Insider

As drought, flooding, and climate change restrict America's water supply, demands from population growth and energy production look set to increase, according to a report from the U.S. Government Accountability Office.

April 22, 2015 Oklahoma scientists say earthquakes linked to oil and gas work

Source: Reuters

Oklahoma geologists have documented strong links between increased seismic activity in the state and the injection into the ground of wastewater from oil and gas production, a state agency said on Tuesday.

April 21, 2015 Urgent Action Needed to Avoid Irreversible Groundwater Depletion

PRESSENZA - âSustainable management of groundwater is key to maintaining ecosystems and adapting to climate change,â said Naoko Ishii, CEO and Chairperson of the îGlobal Environment Facilityî (GEF)....

April 21, 2015 California Court Rules Water Pricing Plan Violates Law

Source: NY Times

LOS ANGELES — A California appeals court dealt a setback Monday to one of the main tools drought regulators want to use to force reductions in urban water use, saying a tiered pricing plan in the Orange County city of San Juan...

April 20, 2015 BP oil spill: Five years after 'worst environmental disaster' in US history, how bad was it really?

Source: Telegraph

It was five years ago today that an undersea BP oil well exploded in the Gulf of Mexico 40 miles off the Louisiana coastline, killing 11 workers on the Deepwater Horizon rig and causing one of the worst environmental disasters in...

April 20, 2015 Texas House approves bill that limits city bans on fracking

Source: Reuters

A bill that would stop Texas cities from enacting their own bans on hydraulic fracturing in the nation's top crude oil and natural gas producing state was approved on Friday in the state House of Representatives.

April 20, 2015 California’s New Drought Rules Would Require Cuts of Up to 36%

Source: Bloomberg

The state’s 411 urban water suppliers would have to cut use by as much as 36 percent, with those that conserved less facing tougher restrictions, the California State Water Resources Control Board said in the proposed rules...

April 17, 2015 California Drought a Shortage of Water or Common Sense?

Source: Reason.com

Californians seem to have remarkably good attitudes about the sacrifices they'll make as the drought heads into its fourth year. Based on polls, they even are supportive of crackdowns on excessive water use, which may explain...

April 17, 2015 Business Viewpoint: The fracking truth may be a different truth

Source: Tulsa World

Whether scorned by those who view it as an environmental threat, or touted as the savior of the domestic energy industry, fracking is in the news. But, can you believe all you read? Is it true that fracking has resulted in...

April 17, 2015 China to ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries

Source: Reuters

China will ban water-polluting paper mills, oil refineries, pesticide producers and other industrial plants by the end of 2016, as it moves to tackle severe pollution of the country’s water supply.

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