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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 30, 2014 Toxic Chemicals, Carcinogens Skyrocket Near Fracking Sites

Source: US News

Oil and gas wells across the country are spewing “dangerous" cancer-causing chemicals into the air, according to a new study that further corroborates reports of health problems around hydraulic...

October 28, 2014 Scientists find a way to make fracking less horrible for the environment

Source: engadget.com

Using fracking (hydraulic fracturing) to get oil or gas may fulfill energy needs, but it has a nasty impact on the environment. Among other things, it leaves behind extremely salty water. However, scientists at both MIT and the...

October 27, 2014 Brazil's Severe Drought Dries Up Reservoirs

Source: National Geographics

Thanks to the worst drought in eight decades in southeastern Brazil, water levels have dropped dramatically in the reservoirs that supply São Paulo, the country's largest city. New satellite imagery from NASA reveals that...

October 24, 2014 What Will Winter Hold for Drought-Plagued California?

Source: Discovery News

California really needs this winter to be a wet one. The state is now at the beginning of the fourth year of one if its worst droughts on record. The drought has been fueled by a spate of disappointing winter rainy seasons that...

October 24, 2014 Fitch: wide ranging impacts of shale revolution expected to continue

abc.az - Baku, Fineko/abc.az. îFitch Ratingsî has published a presentation where it noted that the rise of U.S. oil production, as a result of shale plays, had moderated global oil prices and saved markets from price...

October 24, 2014 Fracking Companies Using Toxic Benzene in Drilling: Group

Source: Bloomberg

Some oil and gas drillers are using benzene, which can cause cancer, in the mix of water and chemicals they shoot underground to free trapped hydrocarbons from shale rock, an environmental watchdog group said today.

October 24, 2014 Californians favor $7.5 billion water bond to fight drought: poll

Source: Reuters

Most Californians favor a ballot initiative authorizing spending $7.5 billion on projects to shore up the drought-parched state's water supply, including a new reservoir and underground storage projects, a poll shows.

October 22, 2014 Water Crisis Seen Worsening as Sao Paulo Nears ‘Collapse’

Source: Bloomberg

The worst drought in eight decades is threatening drinking supplies in South America’s biggest metropolis, with 60 percent of respondents in a Datafolha poll published yesterday saying their water supplies were restricted at...

October 21, 2014 Finding Fracking Fluids In The Environment

Source: Science 2.0

New geochemical tracers can identify any hydraulic fracturing flowback fluids that could have spilled into the environment, according to field tests at a spill site in West Virginia and downstream from an oil and gas brine...

October 21, 2014 Over 1bn people drink water contaminated by faeces

theguardian.com - The highlight of îWorld Water Weekî day two was the Africa Focus sessions. Discussion points included the state and scale of hydropower, transboundary water management and the declining reliance on...

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