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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

March 24, 2015 World Water Day overshadowed by shortage crisis

Source: The Weather Channel

A new U.N. report revealed that the world could suffer a 40 per cent shortfall in water by 2030 unless dramatic changes are made.

March 24, 2015 Australian Water Association Launches Sustainability Competition

Source: Associations Now

As part of a recently announced global competition, the Australian Water Association is seeking businesses and entrepreneurs to submit their ideas and innovative solutions to water sustainability challenges

March 23, 2015 The World’s Water Supply Could Dip Sharply in 15 Years - text/video

Source: Time

Global water resources may soon meet only 60% of the world’s water demands, the United Nations warned in a dire new report. The World Water Development Report, issued ahead of World Water Day on Sunday, says demand for water...

March 20, 2015 Obama administration to issue rules for fracking on public lands

Source: SF Gate

WASHINGTON — The Obama administration is set to issue the first major federal regulations on hydraulic fracturing on Friday, with new mandates targeting oil and gas wells on public land.

March 20, 2015 "Very high levels of arsenic" in top-selling wines

WTSP - He tested more than 1,300 bottles of wine. Almost a quarter of them had levels higher than the îEPAî's maximum allowable amount of arsenic in drinking îwaterî: 10 parts per billion. No one can say...

March 20, 2015 California Announces $1 Billion Emergency Drought Relief Package

Source: Time

Gov. Jerry Brown and a bipartisan group of state lawmakers attempted to deliver some form of it Thursday when they announced a $1 billion plan to provide immediate relief and stave off future problems.

March 20, 2015 Demonstrators march with empty buckets protesting water shortages

IPP Media - The demonstrations come in the backdrop of yesterdayâs launch of the îWorld water weekî that is been observed nationally in Musoma. With water buckets on their heads, the demonstrators demanded an...

March 19, 2015 ANALYSIS-More people, less water mean rising food imports for Egypt

Thomson Reuters Foundation - But farms soak up 85 percent of the country's water, above global averages, according to think-tank the îWorld Water Councilî. While improving yields and allocating more land to farmers...

March 18, 2015 Fracking opponents push statewide ban

Source: Tallahassee Democrat

Activists gathered Tuesday at the Capitol to push for a bill that would ban fracking in Florida and speak out against legislation they say would lay the groundwork for the controversial form of natural-gas extraction to occur.

March 18, 2015 Intensifying Calif. drought sets off alarms

Source: USA Today

As California's epic drought continues with no end in sight, it is setting off new alarms about unprecedented water shortages, increased wildfire threats, fewer crops and farmers, higher electric bills and huge economic losses...

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