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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

October 10, 2014 California aquifers contaminated with billions of gallons of fracking wastewater

Source: RT

Industry illegally injected about 3 billion gallons of fracking wastewater into central California drinking-water and farm-irrigation aquifers, the state found after the US Environmental Protection Agency ordered a review of...

October 10, 2014 EXECUTIVE PERSPECTIVE: It’s time to talk about the price of water

Source: Reuters

This summer, a 90-year-old water pipe burst under Sunset Boulevard in Los Angeles, sending a geyser 30 feet into the air and a flood of troubles over the UCLA campus. Raging water and mud trapped five people, swamped 1,000 cars...

October 8, 2014 Nestle CEO: Water Is Not A Human Right, Should Be Privatized

San Francisco Sentinel - The company notorious for sending out hordes of internet warriors to defend the company and its actions online in comments and message boards (perhaps we'll find some below) even takes a firm stance...

October 2, 2014 What are the Most Important Factors Underlying North American Natural Gas Markets?

Source: Bakken.com

The North American Gas Forum was held in Washington D.C. Sept 28-29. The event brought together leaders from across the natural gas supply chain to discuss the latest developments and important issues in the industry today.

October 1, 2014 Exxon fracking report responds to shareholders

Source: Houston Chronicle

Exxon Mobil issued a report Tuesday that acknowledges the environmental risks of hydraulic fracturing but also defends the practice as being better for the environment than other types of energy production and generation.

October 1, 2014 See one of the world’s largest lakes dry up, in photos

Source: qz.com

Last week, NASA released time-lapse photos, taken by its Terra satellite, that show the drying over time of the Aral Sea in Central Asia—once the world’s fourth largest lake. The time-lapse, taken from August 2000 to August 2014,...

September 30, 2014 Human-Caused Climate Change Worsened Heat Waves in 2013, Study Says

Source: National Geographic

A new report attributes heat waves around the world in 2013 to human-caused climate change, but finds the link between climate change and other extreme weather events—including the California drought—to be much less certain.

September 29, 2014 If you wait for a water crisis, it's too late

Source: AZ Central

Political titans helped give Arizona gloating rights when it comes to water. But unless we nurture a new, more grassroots generation of water buffaloes, tomorrow's Arizona will be a thirstier place.

September 29, 2014 Water scarcity concerns grow from use of fracking

Source: Des Moines Register

With all the recent news about the use of new technological innovations in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, you’d think that methods have been introduced to use less water for fracking.

September 26, 2014 China’s water crisis - Grand new canals

Source: The Economist

SOON the centrepiece of one of China’s most spectacular engineering projects will be completed, with the opening of sluicegates into a canal stretching over 1,200km (750 miles) from the Yangzi river north to the capital, Beijing....

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