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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

August 4, 2014 Some 400,000 in Ohio without drinking water, tests show lower toxin levels

Source: Reuters

Health authorities tested water for toxins in Toledo, Ohio, on Sunday as some 400,000 people remained without safe drinking water for a second day following the discovery of high toxin levels from algae on Lake Erie.

August 1, 2014 Latest polling results in New York show continued growth in opposition to fracking

Source: NRDC

In New York’s Southern Tier, the very heart of the Marcellus Shale region where natural gas lies locked in dense rock, new poll results show a strong majority of people are worried about the health and environmental impacts of...

August 1, 2014 California Drought Crisis Reaches Worst Level as It Spreads North - text/video

Source: NBC NEWS

As California starts handing out its first fines to water-wasters, new data reveals the state’s crippling drought conditions have never been worse. As of Tuesday — the same day the stricter restrictions went into effect — more...

July 31, 2014 UCLA flood: Estimate of gallons lost in main break doubles to 20 million

Source: LA Times

The Los Angeles Department of Water and Power on Wednesday doubled the estimated amount of water lost in a massive main break that flooded UCLA to 20 million gallons. A section of Sunset Boulevard pummeled by the geyser that...

July 31, 2014 Drought Watch: Water for the Environment

Source: PUBLIC ceo

The ongoing drought has heightened tension over how water is allocated in California. In our recent publication on overall water use in California, we show that the environment uses the largest share—50%—of the state’s water. In...

July 31, 2014 Polluted waters of China - Slide Show

Source: Reuters

Growing cities, overuse of fertilizers, and factory wastewater have degraded China’s water supplies to the extent that half the nation’s rivers and lakes are severely polluted.

July 31, 2014 German Water Supply Threatened as Climate Change Boosts Droughts

Source: Bloomberg

German water supplies will become increasingly threatened this century as climate change raises the risk of droughts and water shortages in the country. While Germany is considered water-rich, more water evaporates than falls...

July 30, 2014 Virtual Water Shortage By 2040

Source: Science2.0

Two new papers postulate that there will be a water crisis by 2040. Not because of population, but because of current energy and power solutions. And they believe solar and wind power is the only answer. In most countries,...

July 30, 2014 Big Oil's New Pitch: Fracking Means Never Having to Fear Putin

Source: Mother Jones

As Ukraine sinks deeper into crisis, the oil and gas industry is pressing the United States to deploy its abundant natural gas supply as a weapon against Russia—and lawmakers of both parties are lining up behind the proposal. "We...

July 29, 2014 GAO: Fracking Could Threaten Clean Drinking Water

Source: Philly Mag.com

A new report from the Government Accountability Office suggests the federal Environmental Protection Agency has fallen somewhat short in its duties to ensure that that gas production in Pennsylvania — using the “fracking”...

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