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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.

-----

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

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...

September 14, 2019 Climate adaptation begins with how we manage water (commentary)

Source: Mongabay

A contributor to the GCA report, the International Water Management Institute (IWMI), where I am Director General, is already developing many practical solutions that can be scaled up to adapt to ...

September 9, 2019 Why industry is going green on the quiet

Source: The Guardian

‘Secret sustainability’ is on the rise, with companies loath to talk about their ecological credentials. Why

September 4, 2019 'Bigger picture, it's climate change': Great Lakes flood ravages homes and roads

Source: The Guardian

The havoc wreaked on communities bordering the Great Lakes is a result of their water level steadily rising over the last five years and spiking to record levels this spring and summer. In 2019, the lakes’ depths ranged from 14in...

September 4, 2019 New Data Show Water Scarcity Is Increasing in the Arab World, Stirring Discussion

Source: al-fanarmedia.org

Eighteen out of the 22 Arab countries are suffering from severe water shortages, and ten of them face “extremely high” water stress due to increasing demand, new data from the World Resources Institute shows....

August 21, 2019 Uniqlo deploys lasers and eco stones for sustainable jeans

Source: Nikkei Asian Review

LOS ANGELES -- The parent company of Japanese retailer Uniqlo will slash water use by 90% to 99% in the production of all jeans for the apparel chain, starting in 2020.

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