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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

September 23, 2014 Water: A Defining Issue for Post-2015

Inter Press Service - As United Nations agencies and member states inch closer to agreeing on a new set of development targets to replace the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to include water in...

September 19, 2014 U.S. green groups urge methane rules for oil and gas industry

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must act to rein in methane pollution from the oil and gas industry, environmental groups said on Thursday, warning that failure to set federal standards would undermine other Obama...

September 17, 2014 Arizona Floods Feared as Odile Brings Rain to Southwest - text/video

Source: NBC News

Rain from Tropical Storm Odile began to fall in southern Arizona late Tuesday as large parts of the state braced for what meteorologists said could be historic flooding. Although Odile weakened from a hurricane and lost most of...

September 17, 2014 Climate Report Details Flood Risk to Sites in Washington

Source: NY Times

WASHINGTON — The nation’s capital is likely to see record flooding by 2050, putting about $7 billion worth of property, three military bases and parts of the National Mall at risk as a result of climate change that is raising sea...

September 16, 2014 Occidental in $190 million settlement to clean up New Jersey river

Source: Reuters

Occidental Chemical Corp has agreed to pay New Jersey $190 million as part of a settlement to clean up the polluted Passaic River, state officials announced on Monday. The agreement, which is subject to approval by New Jersey...

September 16, 2014 The Rainforest Alliance Partners with the Guardian on New Follow the Frog Campaign

CSR Wire - NEW YORK, N.Y., Sep. 15 /îCSRwireî/ - The Rainforest Alliance has announced a new platform for its annual Follow the Frog campaign. In partnership with the Guardian, a global leader in digital journalism,...

September 16, 2014 Study: Faulty gas wells, not fracking, pollute water

Source: USAToday

Faulty wells, not deep underground fracking, is the main reason that natural gas extraction from shale rock has contaminated drinking water in parts of Texas and Pennsylvania, says a study Monday by researchers from five...

September 15, 2014 Fracking or Drinking Water? That May Become the Choice

Source: NBC News

Fracking for oil and natural gas—or having enough water to drink. That's the possible dilemma facing a number of countries including the United States, according to a new report released by the World Resources Institute last...

September 15, 2014 New technology could provide cheap clean water for millions

theguardian.com - The water community does have to try and formulate what exactly they want to communicate. Jerome Delli Priscolli, governor representative, îWorld Water Councilî The water sector sits in between...

September 15, 2014 Not One Drop: How Long Will California Survive Life Without Water?

Source: NBC News

As the California drought approaches its fourth year, Seville’s well is one of hundreds of private water holes coughing up sand and spitting air in the Central Valley, according to Tulare County officials. As many as 100,000 more...

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