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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 8, 2020 Iran: decades of unsustainable water use has dried up lakes and caused environmental destruction

Source: The Conversation

Salt storms are an emerging threat for millions of people in north-western Iran, thanks to the catastrophe of Lake Urmia. Once one of the world’s largest salt lakes, and still the country’s largest lake, Urmia is now barely a...

July 31, 2020 Nile dam row: Egypt fumes as Ethiopia celebrates

Source: BBC

The North African nation had long been opposed to any development on the Nile upstream that could reduce the amount of water it receives from the river and has regarded the Ethiopian project as an existential threat.

July 21, 2020 Egypt's Sisi wins parliamentary approval for possible Libya intervention

Source: Reuters

CAIRO - Egypt’s parliament gave President Abdel-Fattah al-Sisi the green light for possible military intervention in Libya by approving the deployment of armed forces abroad to fight “terrorist groups” and “militias”.

July 17, 2020 Ethiopia's River Nile dam: How it will be filled

Source: BBC

Satellite images taken between 27 June and 12 July 2020 show a steady increase in the amount of water being held back by the new mega dam, which straddles the Blue Nile in Ethiopia.

July 10, 2020 Sustainability initiative repurposes coastline waste

Source: DC Velocity

The Wisconsin-based company, Orbis, unveiled a material recovery program Wednesday that uses packaging made with recycled material recovered near major waterways, helping to clean up coastline waste while introducing a new stream...

July 10, 2020 A 'regime shift' is happening in the Arctic Ocean, scientists say

Source: Phys.org

Exploding blooms of phytoplankton, the tiny algae at the base of a food web topped by whales and polar bears, have drastically altered the Arctic's ability to transform atmospheric carbon into living matter.

June 30, 2020 Why thirsty Arab region needs sustainable desalination tech

Source: Arab News

UBAI: For all its hydrocarbon wealth, the Middle East and North Africa (MENA) region suffers from a fundamental scarcity, namely of underground renewable freshwater resources.

June 29, 2020 Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to agree on Nile dam deal

Source: YouTube/Reuters

Egypt, Ethiopia and Sudan to agree on a Nile dam deal within two or three weeks

June 18, 2020 4 Key Data Management Milestones to Ensure Water Sustainability

Source: Water Finance and Management

With the global population expected to hit 8.5 billion in the next 10 years, the demand for water is rising inexorably. Many areas of the world are already facing either water shortages or water that’s unsafe for human...

June 12, 2020 Sustainability in Desalination

Source: Water World

Desalination can be expensive and time consuming due to the complexity of the treatment process, which is why sustainable, energy-efficient desalination is at the forefront of research into developing clean water technologies.

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