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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

January 3, 2017 High Demand, Low Supply: Colorado River Water Crisis Hits Across The West

Source: NPR

For decades, the river has fed growing cities from Denver to Los Angeles. A lot of the produce in supermarkets across the country was grown with Colorado River water. But with climate change, and severe drought, the river is...

December 27, 2016 The Coming Water Crisis

Source: The Epoch Times

Fresh, life-sustaining water is draining away. It’s becoming an increasingly scarce resource across the globe through overuse and pollution. As these issues become more acute, tensions that have already begun will escalate, and...

December 16, 2016 In Corpus Christi, residents scrambling following water supply contamination

Source: Texas Tribune

Residents in Corpus Christi were caught by surprise Wednesday evening as city officials announced a ban on using the city’s water after a chemical made its way into the supply

December 16, 2016 No, The EPA Has Not Actually Changed Its Conclusion On Risks Of Fracking To Drinking Water

Source: Forbes

But did the EPA actually reverse course? No. They gave examples where fracking could contaminate water. For instance they state that "Injection of hydraulic fracturing fluids directly into groundwater resources" can cause...

December 15, 2016 A Year Later, Unfiltered Flint Tap Water Is Still Unsafe To Drink

Source: NPR

A year ago, Flint, Mich., Mayor Karen Weaver declared a state of emergency because of lead-contaminated drinking water, attracting national outrage and sympathy, and millions of gallons of donated water.

December 7, 2016 Biotech Has A Solution For The Clean Water Crisis

Source: Forbes

About a billion people lack enough water to meet their basic health and agricultural needs. Water-borne diseases cause nearly half of hospitalizations globally and kill millions each year.

December 6, 2016 Warming U.S. Could See Extreme Rains Increase Fivefold

Source: Scientific America

More frequent, intense storms will put significant strain on infrastructure and agriculture

December 6, 2016 House, Senate leaders reach deal on Calif. drought, Flint

Source: Washington Post

WASHINGTON — House and Senate leaders reached agreement Monday on a bipartisan bill to authorize $170 million for Flint, Michigan, and other cities beleaguered by lead in drinking water, and to provide relief to drought-stricken...

November 29, 2016 Shale Fracking Rebound Starts With Costlier Grains of Sand

Source: Bloomberg

The oilfield service companies that supply everything from sand to sophisticated robot rigs are seeking a new lease on life as America’s fracking fortunes begin to turn.

November 29, 2016 Investors Come Together To Urge Meat Producers To Stop Water Pollution

Source: Water Online

Members of the nonprofit sustainability advocate Ceres and the Interfaith Center on Corporate Responsibility are working together to urge some the country’s largest meat producers to develop policies to reduce water pollution in...

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