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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 10, 2014 Navigating the nexus of food, energy, water and the environment

Source: The Guardian

The UK government's passion for fracking was again on display in last week's Queen's Speech, with proposed changes in the trespass law to allow shale gas firms to drill under people's homes without permission. Ministers continue...

June 10, 2014 Narendra Modi gov(India)t to send water by trains to crisis-hit areas

Source: News One India

New Delhi, June 9: The government of Narendra Modi has decided to send water to the crisis-hit parts of the country by the railways as a measure to deal with the consequences of an inadequate rainfall likely this season, a report...

June 9, 2014 Editorial - Increased fracking without increased inspections puts the environment at risk

Source: Washington Post

OVER THE past decade, a U.S. energy boom has cut oil and natural gas imports, revitalized manufacturing and enriched rural communities. But will the massive increase in oil and natural gas production mar the environment? We...

June 6, 2014 Gov. McCrory signs NC fracking gas drilling bill

Source: Citizen Times

RALEIGH – Gov. Pat McCrory has signed into law a bill that clears the way for permits to be issued for gas drilling by a method called fracking in North Carolina as soon as next spring. McCrory on Wednesday signed the Energy...

June 5, 2014 California’s Water Crisis Is Getting Worse. Can Satellite Policing Help?

Source: Take Part

With California already suffering through a devastating drought, another water catastrophe has emerged: The state is quickly depleting its groundwater reserves. Reservoirs, creeks, and rivers usually supply a large portion of...

June 5, 2014 Sweden Gets Hydropower Proposal Seen Cutting Output by 20%

Source: Bloomberg

Swedish Environment Minister Lena Ek received a final report today on proposed water quality rules that utility Vattenfall AB said may cut hydroelectric output by a fifth. The report on the ministry’s website follows a two-year...

June 4, 2014 Today is World Water Day

Panorama - World Water Day has been observed on 22 March since 1993 when the United Nations General Assembly declared 22 March as "World Day for Water." This day was first formally proposed in Agenda 21 of the 1992 United Nations...

June 4, 2014 Did fracking fluid cause Greeley quake?

Source: 9 News

Scientists are investigating whether a rare 3.4 magnitude earthquake near Greeley, Colorado this weekend may have been caused by the disposal of fracking fluid.The quake was centered in an area of Weld County located near four...

June 4, 2014 Global Shale Gas Boom Potential 'Blessing' for Environment

Source: International Business Times

A boom in unconventional energy resource production such as shale gas "may be a blessing for the environment", according to academics. The research paper by the Smith School for Enterprise and the Environment at the University of...

June 3, 2014 Queen's speech to green light fracking on private land – leak

Source: RT

An infrastructure and competitiveness bill to be announced in the Queen’s speech on Wednesday will change trespassing laws, allowing shale gas exploration firms to drill on private land without requiring the permission of the...

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