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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

December 9, 2014 More municipal bans on fracking pose setback to domestic energy boom

Source: Fox News

The surge in domestic-energy production that has created millions of new jobs and abundant natural gas and oil is now facing a potential setback, with cities across the country imposing bans on the widely-used deep-drilling...

December 8, 2014 California drought, high temperatures create worst conditions in 1,200 years: study

Source: Reuters

A combination of record high temperatures and sparse rainfall during California’s three-year drought have produced the worst conditions in 1,200 years, according to a study accepted for publication by the American Geophysical...

December 4, 2014 Drought in U.S. and Brazil Linked to Hottest Year Ever

Businessweek - âThe world is going in the wrong direction,â said Jennifer Morgan, director of the climate program at the îWorld Resources Instituteî, who has been tracking the talks for two decades....

December 3, 2014 Much-needed rain drenches California, but hardly puts dent in drought

Source: Washington Post

A vigorous storm system off of California’s Pacific coast is pumping streams of moisture inland, depositing welcome rain in the drought-afflicted state.

December 2, 2014 China turns to drastic measures to avoid water crisis

Source: CBS News

BEIJING -- If you think water is in short supply in California, you should see what's happening in China. The situation is so dire that next month, the communist government will turn on the taps in the world's biggest...

December 2, 2014 OPEC’s War on Fracking Is Good News for the Rest of Us

Source: The New Yorker

The biggest news over Thanksgiving weekend was a sharp drop in the price of crude oil, which followed a decision by the Organization of the Petroleum Exporting Countries, at a meeting, in Vienna, not to try and stabilize prices...

December 1, 2014 Dry California goes damp with statewide storm

Source: UT San Diego

California has gone from dry to damp — and a drenching could be in the near future. A storm system that dropped snow on ski slopes in the Sierra Nevada, sent mud and debris into highways on the Pacific Coast and brought flight...

November 28, 2014 Big companies promote water sustainability

Source: Billings Gazette

By 2020 Coca-Cola, arguably one of the most familiar products in the world, plans to be water neutral — giving back as much water as it uses to produce its soft drinks. Read more:...

November 25, 2014 Brazil's epic water crisis a global wake-up call - Praying For Rain

Source: Breaking News.com

The immediate cause of the crisis is a year-long drought. The Cantareira reservoir system that supplies around a third of the city's population is so low that Sabesp, the local utility, has to dip into and treat sediment-heavy...

November 25, 2014 Droughts Affect 30% Of The Country; What It Means For Our Food Supply

Medical Daily - These mouth-watering vegetarian Thanksgiving recipes â from whole roasted cauliflowers with chimichurri and almonds to pumpkin pie â are cruelty-free alternatives that will overshadow the turkey. > 1862

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