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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

May 11, 2020 Are Flowers Sustainable?

Source: Green Matters

... though plants can do wonderful things, here’s what people start to wonder come every Mother’s Day, anniversary, and Valentine’s Day: Are flowers sustainable?

May 4, 2020 WRI & Cargill Partner On Tools & Best Practices To Advance Sustainable Agriculture

Source: Clean Technica

o help businesses achieve the sustainability efforts needed to feed a rapidly growing population, Cargill is contributing $2 million USD to the next phase of its partnership with World Resources Institute (WRI).

April 24, 2020 'It'll cause a water war': divisions run deep as filling of Nile dam nears

Source: The Guardian

US-mediated talks had secured a preliminary agreement between the trio, including an understanding that a staged filling process would be undertaken in the wet season.

April 23, 2020 What Makes A Liquor Brand Sustainable?

Source: Forbes

As consumers become increasingly conscious of what they put in their bodies and the environmental impact their tread has, brands are starting to react, pivoting marketing and production efforts to embrace sustainable practices.

April 17, 2020 Megadrought' emerging in the western US might be worse than any in 1,200 years

Source: USA Today

Fueled in part by human-caused climate change, a “megadrought” appears to be emerging in the western U.S., a study published Thursday suggests.

April 14, 2020 A Data Center That Guzzles Water Isn’t Sustainable

Source: Data Center Knowledge

The United Nations’ 2019 world water development report shows that water scarcity is a problem that will only worsen in many parts of the world.

April 3, 2020 Smart Landscaping: A Guide to Water-Efficient Irrigation

Source: Nashville SMLS

Watering is a critical component in keeping a typical home's landscaping alive. Many homeowners, however, may be using too much water. Over-watering can inhibit lawn growth, cause a variety of diseases and is more expensive than...

March 6, 2020 Issues in Egypt in Focus, 2020 – Ken Cynar Perspectives – Could the Nile Go Almost Dry?

Source: Sustainability Update, Ken Cynar

Where can Egypt’s people find enough water to drink and continue sustainable agriculture that has lasted more than 5,000 years?

March 4, 2020 Nile Dam: Ethiopia calls US view "totally unacceptable"

Source: BBC

Ethiopia accused the US of overstepping its role as a neutral observer after the US said the dam should not be completed without an agreement.

March 3, 2020 U.S. Urges Ethiopia to Reach Deal With Neighbors on Nile Dam

Source: Bloomberg

Egypt, Ethiopia and mutual neighbor Sudan should conclude an agreement before the completion of Ethiopia’s disputed Nile dam, to prevent “significant harm to downstream countries,” U.S. Treasury Secretary Steven Mnuchin said.

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