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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.


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

Latest on Water - Quality & Quantity

July 27, 2015 On four continents, historic droughts wreak havoc

USA Today - according to the U.N.'s îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî. Every drought is unique, said Peter Gleick, president of the Pacific Institute, a global water think tank in Oakland. "The same drought...

July 24, 2015 California's drought is 'a harbinger of the coming global water crisis'

Source: Business Insider

"We view the unprecedented drought in California as a harbinger of the coming global water crisis," BAML strategists wrote in a note to clients on Tuesday. "By 2050E, 45% of projected GDP is at risk, with as many as 50 countries...

July 24, 2015 Isaac Orr: No, fracking isn't causing earthquakes

Source: Grand Forks Herald

The increase in earthquakes in these two states likely is due to the disposing of wastewater generated during the hydraulic fracturing process, not the fracturing process itself. The U.S. Geological Survey has stated, "Hydraulic...

July 22, 2015 Historic Texas drought over: Zero Texans impacted by drought conditions statewide

Source: Houston Chronicle

According to the newest U.S. Drought Monitor report, not a single Texan or Texas county is still impacted by drought conditions following a spring and early summer of heavy rains and flooding

July 21, 2015 What America Can Learn From the California Water Crisis

Source: Triple Pundit

It has been four years since California first slipped into the drought that’s now causing panic among the state’s citizens and government. Ninety-three percent of Californians have been affected by the lack of water. The greatest...

July 20, 2015 What ever happened with Europe's fracking boom?


The Netherlands has banned fracking until 2020. Over the past several years, a number of other European countries declared a ban on exploiting new natural gas deposits. So, is the apparent European shale gas boom over?

July 17, 2015 Government makes ‘outrageous’ U-turn over fracking in precious wildlife sites (UK)

Source: The Guardian

The government has made a U-turn on its promise to exclude fracking from Britain’s most important nature sites, arguing that the shale gas industry would be held back if it was excluded from them.

July 17, 2015 California flexes muscles in water tussle with farmers

Source: SF Gate

California water regulators flexed their muscles on Thursday by ordering a group of farmers to stop pumping from a branch of the San Joaquin River amid an escalating battle over how much power the state has to protect waterways...

July 16, 2015 Britain should avoid deep injection shale wells: task force

Source: Reuters

Britain should steer clear of using deep injection wells in shale oil and gas “fracking” and take extra steps to reduce the technique’s environmental and health effects, an industry-funded task force examining the sector said on...

July 15, 2015 Fracking in UK 'could be safe' under tighter regulation

Source: BBC News

Fracking could potentially be done safely in the UK under "rigorous regulation", but it is too early to say whether it would be "a good idea", the Task Force on Shale Gas has reported.

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