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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

March 21, 2016 Five sea level rise studies that could help cities plan for climate change

High County News - Ninety experts from 18 countries concluded the Intergovernmental Panel on Climate Change had underestimated sea level rise predictions in its reports. They said oceans could rise anywhere from one to 10 feet by...

March 21, 2016 Managing the politics of water

neurope.eu - The World Economic Forum has ranked water crises as the most worrying global threat, more dangerous than terrorist attacks or financial meltdowns, and more likely to occur than the use of weapons of mass destruction....

March 17, 2016 Governor, EPA chief agree: Michigan agency failed Flint

Source: Washington Post

The Michigan Department of Environmental Quality repeatedly gave assurances that water from the Flint River was safe, when in reality it had dangerous levels of lead, Michigan Gov. Rick Snyder says.

March 16, 2016 EPA battered by lawmakers for Flint water crisis

Source: Politico

Republicans pounced on an internal email by an Midwestern EPA official who, wary of the poor financial management in the hard-hit city, wrote she was "not so sure Flint is the community we want to go out on a limb for...

March 16, 2016 Water Sector Groups Announce Water Week 2016

Yahoo Finance - Organized by the Water Environment Federation (WEF), the National Association of Clean Water Agencies (NACWA), Water Research Foundation (WRF), the Water Environment Research Foundation (WERF), and WateReuse, with...

March 15, 2016 Rain fills reservoirs, but California still suffers drought’s effects

Source: SF Gate

The drought isn’t over, but the recent storms that many hope are part of a “March miracle” have put California a lot further down the road to recovery.

March 15, 2016 The Truth about Water…That You Don’t Want to Hear

Source: About Waterless Waterless Co. Inc

Vista, CA - Even though only a handful of US states are experiencing severe to exceptional drought conditions – down from more than 35 states a couple of years back – water concerns just won’t go away.[more]

March 11, 2016 Lead fear forces water ban in 30 New Jersey school buildings

Source: Washington Post

Elevated levels of lead caused officials in New Jersey’s largest school district on Wednesday to shut off water fountains at 30 school buildings until more tests are conducted, but officials said they don’t believe the...

March 3, 2016 The worst drought in 900 years helped spark Syria's civil war

Source: Mashable

The study bolsters the conclusions from other research that found that because of human-made global warming, the drought was made three times more likely to occur, and that it was one of a number of factors that led to the...

March 2, 2016 Dry spell ate away at snowpack of drought-ridden California

Source: Washington Post

An unwelcome three-week winter dry spell left the California snowpack at just 83 percent of average, a setback for the state as it tries to break out of record drought, state snow surveyors found Tuesday.

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