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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 23, 2016 Seas Rose Faster in 20th Century than in Previous 27 Centuries

Source: NewsWeek

Had it not been for climate change, global sea levels would have risen by less than half the amount they did in the 20th century — and may even have fallen. Instead, the seas rose faster during those 100 years than in any of the...

February 23, 2016 Delhi faces water crisis after canal sabotaged in deadly protests

Source: The Guardian

Much of Delhi’s water supply has been cut off after members of an influential Indian caste sabotaged a canal as part of protests over job quotas that have killed at least 19 people.

February 23, 2016 Drought's impact will spread far beyond western US, say scientists

Source: CS Monitor

The effects of drought on the American West have been well documented. Scientists already have seen that unusually warm and dry conditions kill communities of trees, encourage bark beetle infestations that kill billions more, and...

February 22, 2016 Replacement of Flint’s Lead Water Pipes Underway

Source: Environmental News Service

Work on replacing high-risk lead service lines in Flint is under way as state and city leaders focus on removing pipes in priority areas while analyzing the city’s water pipe network to maximize efficiency, said Michigan Governor...

February 19, 2016 Global Crisis And Modern Solutions At The Water-Energy Nexus

Water Online - Early this year, GE Water & Process Technologies, a multinational chemical and equipment provider, and the World Resources Institute (WRI), an independent research organization studying sustainability, jointly...

February 18, 2016 Better water management could halve global food deficit – scientists

Source: Reuters

LONDON – Investing in agricultural water management could substantially reduce hunger while limiting some of the harmful effects of climate change on crop yields, scientists said in a study released on Tuesday.

February 17, 2016 Flint Paid Highest Water Rate in U.S.

Source: The Daily Beast

A new report released on Tuesday found Flint, Mich., residents paid the highest water rates in the United States last year, despite its source being tainted with lead. The Food and Water Watch study examined the 500 largest water...

February 17, 2016 Four Billion People Suffer From Severe Water Scarcity World Wide

Nature World News - "For some time now, the World Economic Forum has placed the world water crisis in the top three of global problems, alongside climate change and terrorism." The study identifies the growing populations,...

February 16, 2016 The Next Front on Climate Change

Source: Foreign Affairs

After dithering for decades, governments finally seem to be paying serious attention to the problem of global climate change. Late last year, at the Paris climate conference, they adopted a major new agreement to limit global...

February 15, 2016 Water crisis could deepen in future as four billion people face water scarcity: Study

Source: Maine News OnLine

A new study has highlighted about the severity of water scarcity across the globe. Study researchers have said that the extreme water shortage affects around four billion around the world. Fresh water availability in many regions...

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