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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

July 9, 2015 ProPublica Documents The West's Water Crisis In 'Killing The Colorado' - audio

Source: NPR

Renee Montagne talks to Propublica's Abrahm Lustgarten about the Colorado River's falling water levels, and how flawed water policies and mismanagement are to blame — in addition to the drought.

July 8, 2015 How an Obscure Startup Could Help Solve California's Water Crisis

Source: Mother Jones

Could the sharing economy help solve California's water woes? Don't laugh. A new tech startup has come up with a way to let farmers lease their extra water, much in the same way Airbnb enables homeowners to rent out their spare...

July 8, 2015 Drought leads to mass cutting of trees in Los Angeles - video

Source: Reuters

As a result of California's historic drought, thousands of trees that dot the parks and line the streets of urban Los Angeles are in the process of being cut down. John Russell reports

July 6, 2015 Secrecy over fracking chemicals clouds environmental risks, advocates say

theguardian.com - A report by the Environmental Protection Agency (îEPAî) last month found that hydraulic fracturing for oil and gas can lead, and has led, to the contamination of drinking îwaterî. It was...

July 6, 2015 Case for water security in sustainable development goals.

IPP Media - âThe îWorld Water Councilî stresses the importance of good management and efficient use of water so that many people can have access to clean and safe water. Water security is important for human...

July 6, 2015 Here's why India may be on the brink of an unprecedented full-blown water crisis

Source: Economic Times

The villages of Nalgonda district are a microcosm of the water scenario in India. According to a World Resources Institute estimate, in 15 years, the national supply of water is expected to fall 50 per cent below demand.

July 3, 2015 BP agrees to pay $18.7-billion settlement in Gulf of Mexico oil spill

Source: LA Times

Five years after the nation’s worst oil spill scarred fragile shorelines along the Gulf of Mexico and sent economies into a tailspin, the British oil company BP has reached an $18.7-billion settlement designed to close one of the...

July 2, 2015 Water used for hydraulic fracturing varies widely across U.S., study shows

Water World - îWater Environment Federationî named as 2015 Top Workplace The îWater Environment Federationî recently announced that The Washington Post has named the organization as one of the top places...

July 2, 2015 Steering Toward Sustainability: How California’s New Groundwater Law Can Help Us From Driving Off a Cliff

Source: Union of Concerned Scientists Blog

According to new research by NASA, many of the world’s biggest aquifers are being depleted at a much faster rate than they can be replenished, and California’s Central Valley is among the worst. As we all know, California is in...

July 2, 2015 California Just Cut Its Water Use In A Major Way

Source: Huff Post

This May, the last month in which water conservation was voluntary, urban water users consumed 28.9 percent less water than in May 2013, the State Water Resources Control Board announced Wednesday. This surpasses the 25 percent...

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