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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 2, 2014 7 reasons to claim water for life, not for coal

Greenpeace International - That someone must be YOU. Right now the most important event of the year on global water issues, îWorld Water Weekî, is happening in Stockholm, Sweden. More than 200 organisations from...

September 2, 2014 Drinking or fracking' Report finds top shale plays globally are in places with scarce water

FORTUNE - A new study by the global research organization îWorld Resources Instituteî (WRI) found that the best shale deposits where the fracking would be done are in places like China, Mexico and South Africa,...

September 2, 2014 Opportunity Costs: Evidence Suggests Variability, Not Scarcity, Primary Driver of Water Conflict

newsecuritybeat.org - While the îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî (IPCC) forecasts an increase in total precipitation at the global level, regional patterns will vary significantly. Rainfall is projected to...

September 2, 2014 Australia to scrap plan for dumping near Great Barrier Reef: AFR

Source: Reuters

Australia will abandon plans to dump 3 million cubic meters of dredged sand into the Great Barrier Reef area in its effort to create the world's biggest coal port, the Australian Financial Review reported on Tuesday.

September 2, 2014 World Bank says Population Growth, Climate Change Demand Better Water Management

Voice of America - Life and death âAs every high school child knows, water runs through absolutely every we do,â says îWorld Bank Waterî Sector Manager Julia Bucknall. âWe canât grow any food...

September 2, 2014 Antarctic coastal waters 'rising faster'

Source: BBC News

Melting ice is fuelling sea-level rise around the coast of Antarctica, a new report in Nature Geoscience finds. Near-shore waters went up by about 2mm per year more than the general trend for the Southern Ocean as a whole in the...

August 29, 2014 Southwest's Risk of 35-Year 'Megadrought' Raised in New Study

Source: NBC News

The U.S. Southwest faces a strong chance of a 35-year “megadrought” in this century, according to a new study that used paleoclimate and instrumental data to tweak climate models. The research, led by Toby Ault, a Cornell...

August 28, 2014 2014 World Water Week

ReliefWeb - World Water Week is organised by the îStockholm International Water Instituteî (SIWI) and takes place in Stockholm, Sweden. It has been the annual focal point for the globeâs water issues since 1991....

August 27, 2014 California drought: San Jose declares water shortage, but won't fine wasters

Source: San Jose Mercury News

SAN JOSE -- More than seven months into the California drought, San Jose has officially declared a citywide water shortage, asking the city's 1 million residents to cut their water use by 20 percent -- but there will be no new...

August 26, 2014 Reuters Slideshow: California’s historic drought

Source: Reuters

A sign advising to pray for rain hangs above an exhibit area at the 47th Annual World Ag Expo in Tulare, California, February 12, 2014. The expo takes place as a third year of drought plagues California farmers with the driest...

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