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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

April 9, 2015 China’s environment ministry blocks hydro project

Source: Reuters

China’s environment ministry has refused approval for a hydropower dam on an ecologically vulnerable river already damaged by construction, a rare setback for the country’s extensive dam-building program

April 9, 2015 Drought-stricken California’s fracking operations used 70 mn gallons of water last year

Source: RT

Energy companies in California used 70 million gallons of water for the hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, process to unearth oil and gas reserves, according to officials. The figure comes during the state’s increasingly urgent...

April 9, 2015 Sanctions, higher costs considered under California drought plan

Source: Reuters

California’s cities and towns would be required to cut their water usage by up to 35 percent or face steep fines under proposed new rules released Tuesday, the state’s first-ever mandatory cutbacks in urban water use amid ongoing...

April 8, 2015 California drought: Santa Barbara looks to ocean desalination for new water; are other cities next?

Source: Contra Costa Times

SANTA BARBARA -- A mothballed desalination plant sits like a time capsule near Santa Barbara's main tourist beach, a relic of California's last drought to end all droughts.

April 8, 2015 California’s Voluntary Water Conservation Plan Is Not Close to Working

Source: Circle of Blue

Statewide water use was just 2.8 percent lower in February than in 2013, and far from the 25 percent cut that cities will soon be required to achieve, according to data from 390 urban water suppliers that was presented Tuesday...

April 7, 2015 Western Canada to lose 70 per cent of glaciers by 2100

Source: UBC News

Seventy per cent of glacier ice in British Columbia and Alberta could disappear by the end of the 21st century, creating major problems for local ecosystems, power supplies, and water quality, according to a new study by UBC...

April 7, 2015 Potential 2016 Contender Explains How California Liberals Caused Current Water Crisis

Source: Western Joirnalism

Fiorina noted that “liberal environmentalists have prevented the building of a single new reservoir or a single new water conveyance system over decades during a period in which California’s population has doubled.” As a result,...

April 6, 2015 Fracking deserves the negative attention

Source: Daily Trogan

Asking strangers on the street for their opinions on hydraulic fracturing is likely to elicit some blank stares. But asking them for their opinions on fracking will almost certainly evoke adamant reactions. And considering the...

April 6, 2015 California Governor Defends Water Restrictions That Largely Spare Farms

Source: Time

Governor Jerry Brown defended his state’s new mandatory water restrictions on Sunday as critics claim they largely spare some farms that consume much of California’s water.

April 5, 2015 Calif. drought challenges state's businesses

azcentral.com - "We're on a real collision course with a very dark reality," says Dave Puglia, senior vice president of the îWestern Growersî Association in Irvine, Calif., a grower and packer trade group. WHO GETS...

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