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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

June 25, 2014 Oil and gas exploration blocks expanded to entice fracking firms

Source: The Telegraph

Energy companies will be offered the chance to explore for shale gas across bigger blocks of land, under a revised system aimed at enticing them to commit to fracking. Ministers are expected to launch the '14th onshore licensing...

June 25, 2014 China facing major water shortage crisis

Source: World Bulleting

China's scarce water supply is being wasted as crops grown in water-stressed provinces are exported to wet, rainfall-rich areas, a study reports. The limited resource of the 65% water coming under pressure from rapid urbanisation...

June 24, 2014 Pressure builds against France's ban on fracking

Source: LA Times

Deep beneath the City of Light lies what some believe to be an energy bonanza ripe for harvest. If the rosy forecasts are correct, France is sitting on one of the biggest deposits of shale gas in Western Europe, enough to supply...

June 24, 2014 Are Desalination Plants Solution to World’s Fresh Water Crisis?

Source: The Geen Optimistic

To make ocean salt water drinkable- this is the ultimate dream of numerous researchers and engineers. And many of them have already made quite an attempt to do so.

June 20, 2014 WWC, FAO to bolster global water, food security

The Frontier Post - KARACHI (PPI): The World Water Council (WWC) and the îFood and Agriculture Organization of the United Nationsî (FAO) have agreed to intensify their collaboration in a bid to strengthen global water...

June 20, 2014 Betting against climate change

Source: Daily Sun

According to 2013 data compiled by the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, you and I owe our very existence to water. After all, 92 percent of our blood, 75 percent of our brains and muscles, 60 percent bodies and 22 percent of...

June 20, 2014 Water shortage shuts Coca-Cola plant in India

Source: ft.com

A Coca-Cola bottling plant has been ordered to close in northern India after local farmers blamed it for using too much water, creating fresh headaches for the world’s biggest soft-drinks maker in one of its most important...

June 19, 2014 If Fracking Is the Question, Insurers May Ask – What Is the Answer?

Source: Insurance Journal

When it comes to the use of evolving technologies such as hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in oil and gas production one big question insurance companies are faced with is: to insure or not to insure? That is a key question for...

June 19, 2014 Arizona Cities Could Face Cutbacks in Water From Colorado River, Officials Say

Source: NY Times

Arizona could be forced to cut water deliveries to its two largest cities unless states that tap the dwindling Colorado River find ways to reduce water consumption and deal with a crippling drought, officials of the state’s canal...

June 19, 2014 A quarter of India’s land is turning into desert: minister

Source: Reuters

About a quarter of India’s land is turning to desert and degradation of agricultural areas is becoming a severe problem, the environment minister said, potentially threatening food security in the world’s second most populous...

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