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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

September 29, 2014 If you wait for a water crisis, it's too late

Source: AZ Central

Political titans helped give Arizona gloating rights when it comes to water. But unless we nurture a new, more grassroots generation of water buffaloes, tomorrow's Arizona will be a thirstier place.

September 29, 2014 Water scarcity concerns grow from use of fracking

Source: Des Moines Register

With all the recent news about the use of new technological innovations in hydraulic fracturing for natural gas, you’d think that methods have been introduced to use less water for fracking.

September 26, 2014 China’s water crisis - Grand new canals

Source: The Economist

SOON the centrepiece of one of China’s most spectacular engineering projects will be completed, with the opening of sluicegates into a canal stretching over 1,200km (750 miles) from the Yangzi river north to the capital, Beijing....

September 25, 2014 Fracking not as bad as you fear, panelists say; some activists disagree

Source: OC Register

Don’t worry, fracking won’t harm you. That was the underlying message from a six-expert information session about the controversial oil drilling technique Tuesday night at Cal State Fullerton.

September 25, 2014 E.P.A. Unveils Second Phase of Plan to Reverse Great Lakes Damage

Source: NY Times

The federal government issued a new blueprint Wednesday for its efforts to restore the Great Lakes, including plans to clean up 10 contaminated rivers and harbors and step up its attack on poisonous algae blooms that coat parts...

September 25, 2014 'Water war' in Brazil as Rio's supply threatened

Daily Telegraph - A severe drought affecting Brazilâs biggest city has led to a âwater warâ that could cause the water supply to collapse in parts of São Paulo and Rio de Janeiro. Authorities in...

September 24, 2014 Drought Worsens China's Long-Term Water Crisis

Source: ABC News

The corn has grown to only half its normal height on Yan Shuqin's ranch in the hills of Inner Mongolia this year, as a swath of northern China suffers its worst drought in 60 years.

September 23, 2014 Siemens Makes $7.6 Billion Bet on Fracking in U.S.

Source: NY Times

The German engineering conglomerate Siemens already makes a range of products for the American energy sector, including gas turbines and equipment for generating electricity from wind.

September 23, 2014 Water: A Defining Issue for Post-2015

Inter Press Service - As United Nations agencies and member states inch closer to agreeing on a new set of development targets to replace the soon-to-expire Millennium Development Goals (MDGs), the need to include water in...

September 19, 2014 U.S. green groups urge methane rules for oil and gas industry

Source: Reuters

The U.S. Environmental Protection Agency must act to rein in methane pollution from the oil and gas industry, environmental groups said on Thursday, warning that failure to set federal standards would undermine other Obama...

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