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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

October 14, 2020 Desalination device could lead to more sustainable practice

Source: Water World

A study conducted at the Politecnico di Torino, in collaboration with MIT, shows the Marangoni Effect can be used to obtain freshwater from the sea.

October 13, 2020 HOW SUSTAINABLE IS ORGANIC COTTON?

Source: Livekindly

In addition to child labor and exploitation, this soft and fluffy crop takes a significant toll on the environment. Excessive cultivation depletes and degrades the soil, and uses huge amounts of water.

October 13, 2020 Food Producers Need To Focus On Technology, Health And Sustainability

Source: Forbes

It is becoming more difficult to be a successful food company. Despite industry-wide revenue growth, major players are seeing their sales shrink, their production costs rise and competition from small brands intensify.

October 7, 2020 After nearly running out of water in 2018, Cape Town dams are now overflowing

Source: CNN

Cape Town's reservoirs have topped 100% for the first time in six years, a magnificent change in the "Mother City" compared to its dire situation just two years ago.

October 7, 2020 More than 14m tonnes of plastic believed to be at the bottom of the ocean

Source: The Guardian

At least 14m tonnes of plastic pieces less than 5mm wide are likely sitting at the bottom of the world’s oceans, according to an estimate based on new research.

September 30, 2020 The oceans are out of balance — and that means stronger storms and threats to marine life

Source: CBS

Stronger storms are another result of warmer waters. So far this season, the Atlantic is a month ahead of a record pace with 23 named storms. While various factors have contributed to the overactive season, Mann says a warmer...

September 30, 2020 Asian rivers are turning black. And our colorful closets are to blame

Source: CNN

The river is now black like an ink stain...waste from nearby garment factories and dye houses has polluted the water. "There are no fish now. The water is so polluted that our children and grandchildren cannot have the same...

September 28, 2020 Seequent and Microsoft partner in global water sustainability commitments

Source: Geospatial

Global geoscience software company Seequent was highlighted as one of four global partners working with Microsoft and its customers to drive change for good around water quality and conservation.

September 28, 2020 World leaders pledge to halt Earth’s destruction ahead of UN summit

Source: The Guardian

World leaders have pledged to clamp down on pollution, embrace sustainable economic systems and eliminate the dumping of plastic waste in oceans by the middle of the century as part of “meaningful action” to halt the destruction...

September 28, 2020 Could the Sahara ever be green again?

Source: Live Science

Sometime between 11,000 and 5,000 years ago, after the last ice age ended, the Sahara Desert transformed. Green vegetation grew atop the sandy dunes and increased rainfall turned arid caverns into lakes. About 3.5 million square...

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