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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 17, 2021 A new eco-friendly and sustainable algae-based way to fight water pollution

Source: Phys.org

Our ever-growing demand for freshwater has caused its sources to diminish rapidly and scientists have been attempting to find strategies to purify wastewater for reuse to meet future demands.

September 10, 2021 Agricultural impacts of sustainable water use in the United States

Source: Nature

Governance measures such as restrictions on groundwater pumping and adjustments to sectoral water pricing have been suggested as response strategies to curtail recent increases in groundwater pumping and enhance sustainable water...

September 10, 2021 ‘Win their hearts and minds’: Nestle CEO on plans to address young consumers’ sustainability concerns

Source: CNBC

The CEO of consumer goods giant Nestle told CNBC Thursday that sustainability concerns among its younger customers were “off the charts” and a major influence on purchasing decisions.

August 25, 2021 ConocoPhillips-backed Solaris readies IPO with sustainability pitch, sources say

Source: CNBC

ConocoPhillips-backed Solaris Midstream Holdings, the water pipeline company serving the U.S. oil and gas fracking industry, is preparing for an initial public offering (IPO) that it hopes will attract sustainability-focused...

August 24, 2021 India Bans Long List of Single-Use Plastics Starting Next July

Source: Good News Network

India’s rule states: The manufacture, import, stocking, distribution, sale and use of (the) following single-use plastic, including polystyrene and expanded polystyrene, commodities shall be prohibited with effect from July 1,...

August 18, 2021 Blue Beauty: The Sustainable Trend You Should Know About

Source: The Glitter Guide

When shopping for blue beauty products, look at the ingredients that you’re purchasing. Are they reef-safe, or made with ingredients derived from the ocean without disturbing those ecosystems? Some brands have even committed to...

August 17, 2021 Drought forces first water cuts on the Colorado River. They're just the beginning.

Source: Poliyico

A two-decade-long megadrought along the Colorado River is pushing seven Western states and parts of Mexico into a formal shortage declaration, forcing water delivery cuts to the Southwest that are just the beginning of the pain...

August 12, 2021 The Hill's Sustainability Report: Seawalls protect some communities — at the expense of others

Source: The Hill

Seawalls and levees have been used for millennia to fortify communities against flooding. But erecting such infrastructure often occurs at the detriment of lower income communities, a new report suggested.

August 11, 2021 Senate Passes $1 Trillion Infrastructure Bill, Handing Biden a Bipartisan Win

Source: NY Times

The Senate gave overwhelming bipartisan approval on Tuesday to a $1 trillion infrastructure bill to rebuild the nation’s deteriorating roads and bridges and fund new climate resilience and broadband initiatives, delivering a key...

August 9, 2021 The world is on the brink of ‘catastrophe,’ leader of next UN climate talks warns

Source: CNN

Failure to act now on climate change will result in “catastrophic” consequences for the world, the leader of the United Nation’s next climate talks has warned.

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