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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

July 23, 2014 Water, super-sewers and the filth threatening the River Thames

Source: The Guardian

"Water is the giver of life," says the great-great-grandson of the engineer who revolutionised London's sewerage system. "That's why people always ask if there's water on Mars to support life. But it is also bringer of death, as...

July 23, 2014 New York State of Fracking: A ProPublica Explainer

Source: ProPublica

New York is one of a handful of states around the country that currently has at least temporarily halted fracking. Since 2008, when the state was first confronted with interest in gas drilling and hydraulic fracturing by energy...

July 22, 2014 California reviews fracking water disposal amid contamination concerns

Source: Reuters

California said it would review wells where oil drilling waste water from the process known as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, is disposed to ensure they are not contaminating drinking water.

July 21, 2014 "Tea Party of the Left" wages ferocious battle over fracking

Source: Denver Post

Not that long ago, nurse Cliff Willmeng would have reacted to a question about hydraulic fracturing with a blank stare. Fracking, oil shale, drilling: those were words used by geologists, not an emergency-room worker. But a...

July 21, 2014 California Drought: Lack of water hinders California's clean energy goals

Source: KPCC

California's ongoing drought could complicate the state's effort to combat global warming. The San Francisco Chronicle reports Sunday that a drought stretching on for years could slash the amount of clean energy collected from...

July 21, 2014 Commodities: Water should be traded on financial markets to avoid global crisis

Source: The Telegraph

Britain, as the rest of the world, is facing a water crisis, leading some experts to predict that by the end of the decade H2O will be traded on financial markets like other finite commodities such as crude oil, or iron ore....

July 18, 2014 Germany Proposes Seven-Year Fracking Ban

Source: Environmental Working Group

Environmentalists in Germany have more to celebrate this week than a World Cup championship title. German Environment Minister Barbara Hendricks, in conjunction with Sigmar Gabriel, Vice Chancellor and Minister for Economic...

July 17, 2014 Four things you should know about Detroit’s water crisis

Source: Grist

This May, the Detroit Water and Sewerage District (DWSD) sent out 46,000 shutoff notices to customers who were behind in their water bills. It was the latest calamity to befall a city that had seen its water rates rise 119...

July 17, 2014 California's Drought Is 'The Greatest Water Loss Ever Seen,' And The Effects Will Be Severe

Source: Business Insider

California's current drought will cost the state $2.2 billion and 17,000 jobs, researchers announced at a press conference July 15 in Washington, D.C. The findings are from a new report from the UC Davis Center for Watershed...

July 16, 2014 California Drought Cuts Water for Farming to Record Lows

Source: Bloomberg

The severe drought in California is threatening more than $800 million in crop revenue as water needed for farming is at record lows, according to a report.

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