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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

May 28, 2015 Barack Obama's water war

Source: Politico

The Obama administration opened its newest offensive in the water wars on Wednesday, championing protections for waterways and wetlands despite a fierce counterattack from powerhouse industries like agriculture, oil and...

May 26, 2015 With new EPA water rule, Obama again takes executive action on environment

Source: LA Times

This week, the Environmental Protection Agency is expected to release a new rule to protect a significantly larger percentage of streams and wetlands that provide habitat for wildlife and sources of drinking water.

May 26, 2015 Texas governor says deadly flooding is worst ever seen

Source: Reuters

Texas Governor Greg Abbott on Monday described the flash flooding that had killed at least three people in his state as "a relentless wall of water that mowed down huge trees like they were grass."

May 22, 2015 STUDY: California TV Stations' Drought Coverage Gave Short Shrift To Climate Change

Source: Media Matters

It has become increasingly clear that human-induced climate change is exacerbating California's historic drought and will continue to make droughts in the western U.S. more common and more extreme, as many studies and leading...

May 21, 2015 What can be done about a water shortage?

Source: Missouri S&T

The water crisis in the western United States – most notably in California and Washington – may be the most severe and most publicized, but other threats to the nation’s water supply loom, says Dr. Joel Burken, professor of civil...

May 21, 2015 How A Bottled Water Plant Is Making The Water Crisis Worse For This California Region

Source: Huff Post

To the west of the Sierra Nevada Mountains, in California’s vast, dry San Joaquin Valley, a catastrophe is unfolding. Drought-stricken growers, deprived of surface water for irrigation, are pumping ancient aquifers at a rate that...

May 21, 2015 What can companies actually do to fight the global water crisis?

Source: Food Navigator

The WWF report offers industry a five-step plan to tackle global water scarcity and holds up certain food and drink companies for their best practice.

May 20, 2015 How Taxing Organic Products Could Solve California’s Water Shortage

Source: National Review

California is in the fourth year of record-setting dearth of rain, with virtually the entire state experiencing “exceptional drought.” In response, Governor Jerry Brown has mandated a 25 percent reduction in the state’s water use...

May 19, 2015 Smithfield Foods Named the Top Performer in the Meat Industry in Water Management Says New Ceres Report

GlobeNewswire - The company uses Global Reporting Initiative (GRI) guidelines for public sustainability reporting, and utilized two separate tools to assess water risk both domestically and internationally: the îWorld...

May 18, 2015 Disappearing Lake Powell underlines drought crisis facing Colorado river

Source: The Guardian

As water levels plummet to 45% in America’s second-largest reservoir, new islands appear – and fears grow for a waterway that serves 40 million people.

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