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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 3, 2017 One in four Americans drink water that fails safety standards

Source: Popular Science

A new report from the National Resources Defense Council (NRDC) looked at 2015 drinking water data from across the United States and found that of the nation’s 52,000 community drinking water systems, a third reported violations...

April 28, 2017 Duke study finds on water well contamination from fracking

Source: West Virginia Metro News

A just-released study by the Duke University Nicholas School of the Environment demonstrates that these kinds of claims by the anti-fracking crowd are false.

April 21, 2017 Scientists Discover Extensive Network Of Rivers And Lakes Across Antarctica

Source: Tech Times

A first of its kind continent-wide survey of Antarctica revealed that the ice-capped continent has a surprisingly vast network of rivers and lakes, which make their way through the ice shelves of the landmass. - See more at:...

April 21, 2017 Water Shortage A Concern With 34% Of Florida In Severe Drought

Source: CBS Miami

MIAMI— The severe drought continues across part of the state with the latest drought monitor showing 34 percent of the state under a severe drought.

April 20, 2017 California Tries to Refill Its Biggest Reservoir

Source: Bloomberg

After the wettest winter in 122 years of record-keeping, California's reservoirs are filling up again, with more than 22 million acre-feet of water in the 46 reservoirs tracked by the state Department of Water Resources (they'd...

April 20, 2017 AP Exclusive: Managers made errors in handling of dam crisis

Source: SF Gate

Over six straight days, the operators of the Oroville Dam had said there was no immediate danger after water surging down the main spillway gouged a hole the size of a football field in the concrete chute. But now suddenly they...

April 4, 2017 Graphene-based sieve turns seawater into drinking water

Source: BBC

A UK-based team of researchers has created a graphene-based sieve capable of removing salt from seawater. The sought-after development could aid the millions of people without ready access to clean drinking water.

March 29, 2017 Is the end in sight for the Flint water crisis? (+video)

Source: CS Monitor

Flint, Michigan's water crisis may finally be reaching resolution, with a new settlement that would require the city to replace 18,000 underground pipes by the year 2020.

March 29, 2017 Wastewater treatment: an undervalued driver of sustainability

Source: Huff Post

Wastewater is no longer waste as innovation and holistic thinking enables water reuse and resource recovery.

March 29, 2017 Fracking Failures

Source: Penn Environment

Fracking is dirty and dangerous. From the very beginning of clearing a site for drilling, through the extraction, transport and delivery of natural gas, fracking poses significant risks to our air and water and to human health.

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