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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

November 9, 2016 Water at England's beaches is cleanest on record

Source: The Guardian

Dry summer, tighter regulations and more spending by water companies sees 98.5% of beaches monitored by the Environment Agency meet EU standards

November 4, 2016 Drought ends in nearly one-fourth of California

Source: CTV News

SAN FRANCISCO -- The U.S. Drought Monitor showed nearly one-fourth of California out of drought on Thursday, the best such showing for the parched state in more than three years.

November 2, 2016 How Fracking Impacts Water-Stressed Regions

Source: EcoWatch

Among the myriad impacts of fracking on county residents is stress on their water supply. To recover the natural gas unevenly distributed throughout the shale formation, the hydraulic fracturing process blasts large volumes of...

November 1, 2016 Water crisis looms in Metro Manila

Source: Inquirer Net

Metro Manila faces a water crisis unless the government finds a source to supplement the Umiray–Angat–Ipo or Angat reservoir system, which will not be able to meet the needs of its more than 15 million inhabitants four years from...

November 1, 2016 Companies settle West Virginia chemical spill suits for $151 million

Source: UPI

The settlements come more than two and a half years after a chemical spill contaminated the water system in nine counties, leaving residents and businesses without tap water for days.

October 21, 2016 Watchdog: EPA Action To Protect Flint Residents From Lead Was Delayed 7 Months

Source: NPR

The Environmental Protection Agency had the authority and information to issue an emergency order protecting residents of Flint, Mich., from lead-tainted water a full seven months before it did so, an EPA internal investigation...

October 13, 2016 Why the global water crisis is a women’s issue and the top global risk over the next decade?

Source: Huff Post

1.8 billion people around the world don’t have access to safe water and 2.4 billion (32% of the world’s population) lack access to adequate sanitation. Women and children spend more than 4 hours walking for water each day, and...

September 19, 2016 Is California Cursed With Drought For the Rest of Time?

Source: Inverse

alifornia has experienced droughts that lasted longer than most human civilizations do, and the next drought could well last longer than any of us are going to be around for.

September 13, 2016 India's tech capital, companies shut down after violent protests - text/video

Source: Reuters

Indian and foreign technology companies including global outsourcing firm Accenture closed offices and told staff to stay at home in the technology hub of Bengaluru on Tuesday after riots over the diversion of water from a river.

September 6, 2016 The media loves doomsday stories about the West’s water crisis. Here’s what they miss.

Source: Vox

With California facing the worst drought in the historical record and Lake Mead dropping to its lowest level ever, there are plenty of worries that the region’s vast agricultural regions will one day wither and cities will run...

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