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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

December 5, 2019 Finance Key To A Sustainable Water Future

Source: Wateronline

More businesses than ever are realising their long-term prosperity depends on having enough water at the right time. However, while interest in protecting water is increasing, its mismanagement in some sectors is still resulting...

November 8, 2019 Mist Showers: Sustainable Decadence?

Source: Resilience

The shower doesn’t get much attention in the context of climate change. However, like airplanes, cars, and heating systems, it has become a very wasteful and carbon-intensive way to provide for a basic need: washing the body....

November 8, 2019 Scientists Study Sea Levels 125,000 Years Ago And It's a Terrifying Look at Our Future

Source: Science Alert

Sea levels rose 10 metres above present levels during Earth's last warm period 125,000 years ago, according to new research that offers a glimpse of what may happen under our current climate change trajectory.

November 4, 2019 Water Risks and the Food Sector

Source: Ceres

The $5 trillion global food and agribusiness sector operates at the center of the world’s growing water crisis. Highly dependent on large volumes of cheap water supplies, food companies are among the first to feel the heat, as...

October 30, 2019 Water Purification Is Becoming A Crucial Part Of The Sustainability Conversation

Source: The Rising

When it comes to water, there are a lot of hidden complexities behind Earth’s most vital resource. Water conservation and proper distribution is a major problem. Moreover, plastic waste that comes from the significant usage of...

October 17, 2019 BWS 2019 Highlights

Source: IISD

The 2019 Budapest Water Summit resumed discussions in four plenary sessions on Wednesday, covering: water stress and mass migration; investments for water security; technology to avoid crises; and science in water crises.

October 4, 2019 Ocean cleanup device successfully collects plastic for first time

Source: The Guardian

A huge floating device designed by Dutch scientists to clean up an island of rubbish in the Pacific Ocean that is three times the size of France has successfully picked up plastic from the high seas for the first time.

September 25, 2019 Landmark UN report warns sea levels will rise faster than projected by 2100

Source: CNN

Cities from New York to Shanghai could see regular flooding, as sea levels rise faster than previously thought. Glaciers and ice sheets from the Himalayas to Antarctica are rapidly melting.

September 20, 2019 Coca-Cola HBC named Europe’s most sustainable beverage company

Source: Plastics In Packaging

Coca-Cola bottler Coca-Cola HBC is Europe’s most sustainable beverage company according to the 2019 Dow Jones Sustainability Index (DJSI). The ranking marks the sixth time in seven years that the company has been awarded the top...

September 17, 2019 Landmark sustainability initiative launched on 1.5 million acres of US corn

Source: Farm Forum

LONDON, UK, and ARDEN HILLS, Minn. — Tate & Lyle PLC, a provider of food, beverage and industrial ingredients and solutions, and Land O'Lakes SUSTAIN, the sustainable solutions business of the farmer-owned cooperative, announced...

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