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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 14, 2017 Column The next crisis for California will be the affordability of water

Source: LA Times

In California and across the nation, concern about water affordability has been spreading, with good reason. Few basic commodities are under as much cost pressure.

July 12, 2017 India’s capital is running out of water, and it’s not due to a lack of resources

Source: Quartz

As summer temperatures soar above 40°C in New Delhi, acute water shortages are gripping parts of India’s capital. Signs of water stress are now everywhere, and residents in southern and western parts of the city have not received...

July 11, 2017 Reusable water bottles have more bacteria than dog toys

Source: Fox News

A study by Treadmill Reviews has found that water bottles harbor huge levels of potentially harmful bacteria.

July 10, 2017 Dirty water use puts nearly a billion at risk – study

Source: Reuters

ROME – Untreated wastewater from cities is used to irrigate 50 percent more farmland worldwide than previously thought, leaving some 885 million people exposed to the risk of diseases, including diarrhea and cholera, a study said...

July 6, 2017 A trillion-ton iceberg the size of Delaware is about to break off Antarctica

Source: Washington Post

An enormous iceberg, more than 2,000 square miles in area — or nearly the size of Delaware — is poised to detach from one of the largest floating ice shelves in Antarctica and float off in the Weddell Sea, south of the tip of...

June 28, 2017 Trump administration to propose repealing rule giving EPA broad authority over water pollution

Source: Washington Post

President Trump’s administration will revoke a rule that gives the Environmental Protection Agency broad authority over regulating the pollution of wetlands and tributaries that run into the nation’s largest rivers, EPA...

June 27, 2017 Greenland ice sheet melt, warming seas, land ice shift accelerate sea level rise

Source: International Business Times

Australian and international researchers have found out that the rate at which global sea levels have risen in a little over two decades has increased by 50 percent. Researchers involved in the study used refined satellite...

June 19, 2017 The approaching crisis: Is the world running out of water?

Source: News.com.au

Water is absolutely fundamental to life, which makes the increasingly loud warnings about water scarcity and an impending global water crisis so concerning for world leaders.

June 15, 2017 Six Michigan officials criminally charged in Flint water crisis

Source: Reuters

Six current and former Michigan and Flint officials were criminally charged on Wednesday for their roles in the city's water crisis that was linked to an outbreak of Legionnaires' disease that caused at least 12 deaths, the...

June 12, 2017 HOW NASA'S SATELLITES CAN HELP SOLVE THE MIDDLE EAST WATER CRISIS

Source: NewsWeek

Ever since it was established in 1958, America’s national space agency has produced a raft of invaluable scientific data. From tracking melting glaciers to identifying mineral deposits, its efforts to accumulate enormous troves...

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