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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

February 5, 2015 Earthquakes continue to affect Oklahoma energy companies - text/video

Source: KFOR - TV

An Oklahoma energy company has been ordered to shut down a wastewater injection well due to concerns that it may be causing earthquakes, a state official said Wednesday

February 4, 2015 Californians use 22 percent less water, but more cuts loom

Source: SF Gate

December's rains enabled Californians to finally meet Gov. Jerry Brown's call for a 20 percent reduction in monthly water consumption, but more restrictions loom as the state adapts to long-term drought conditions

February 4, 2015 Can Sun and Wind Make More Salt Water Drinkable?

Source: National Geographic

February 4, 2015 World has not woken up to water crisis caused by climate change: IPCC head

Source: Reuters

NEW DELHI – Water scarcity could lead to conflict between communities and nations as the world is still not fully aware of the water crisis many countries face as a result of climate change, the head of the U.N. panel of climate...

February 2, 2015 SNP fabricated reasons for fracking ban, says expert

Source: Telegraph

SNP ministers are deliberately misleading the Scottish public by pretending their fracking ban is about health and environmental concerns instead of political posturing, an expert they asked to research the controversial practice...

February 2, 2015 Climate change, melting glaciers make Iceland spring upward like a trampoline

Source: Washington Post

Sea levels aren’t the only things rising due to climate change — swaths of land are too, including the nation of Iceland. That’s according to a new study published by a team of geologists from the University of Arizona. According...

January 30, 2015 Pennsylvania’s New Governor Will Ban Fracking In State Parks And Forests

Source: Climate Progress

Pennsylvania’s new Governor Tom Wolf will sign an executive order Thursday banning the practice of hydraulic fracturing, or fracking, in state parks and forests, the Associated Press reports.

January 29, 2015 New satellite to help NASA predict floods and droughts

Source: CS Monitor

Data from the satellite will change the forecasting of floods and droughts, as well as impact agricultural operations, insurance assessments and disaster relief. Today, that information comes largely from computer models.

January 28, 2015 California Water Shortage: $1 Billion Plant Will Make Seawater Drinkable By End Of 2015

Source: International Business Times

While much of California remains in the grip of a three-year drought, a $1 billion desalination plant that will turn seawater to drinking water is on track to open later this year to serve residents of San Diego County. Once...

January 26, 2015 Brazil’s worst drought in history prompts protests and blackouts

Source: The Guardian

The taps have run dry and the lights have gone out across swathes of Brazil this week as the worst drought in history spreads from São Paulo to Rio de Janeiro and beyond.

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