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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

November 15, 2017 All South Floridians in the House voted against flood-insurance overhaul. Here’s why

Source: Miami Herald

WASHINGTON The entire South Florida delegation in the House of Representatives voted Tuesday against a proposal to overhaul the National Flood Insurance Program, as Congress seeks a long-term solution for the program saddled...

November 14, 2017 The man helping Americans access safe drinking water

Source: BBC

It was one of the worst water contamination scandals in recent US history. In 2015 children living in Flint, Michigan, began suffering from rashes and mysterious illnesses

November 13, 2017 $300 Billion War Beneath the Street: Fighting to Replace America’s Water Pipes

Source: NY Times

Bursting pipes. Leaks. Public health scares. America is facing a crisis over its crumbling water infrastructure, and fixing it will be a monumental and expensive task.

November 10, 2017 Heat source under Antarctica melting its ice sheet: NASA

Source: The Economic Times

A geothermal heat source called mantle plume lies deep below Antarctica's Marie Byrd Land, explaining some of the melting that creates lakes and rivers under the ice sheet, a NASA study has found.

November 8, 2017 The Latest on the U.S. Water Crisis (It’s Still Happening, FYI)

Source: Food and Water Watch

The water crisis we’ve been talking about in the United States hasn’t gone away, and unless Congress passes the Water Affordability, Transparency, Equity and Reliability Act (the WATER Act, H.R. 1673), it doesn’t look like it’s...

October 25, 2017 A Look At The Health Crisis In Puerto Rico After Hurricane Maria

Source: NPR

A month after Hurricane Maria hit Puerto Rico, millions of residents still don't have access to electricity or proper health care, and bacteria in the water have exposed many people to disease.

October 16, 2017 Puerto Rico's Water Crisis Is More Complicated Than You Think

Source: Newsy

The lead Democrat on the House Homeland Security Committee wants an investigation into water contamination in Puerto Rico. That's after a CNN report said the island's water authority is distributing water from a hazardous waste...

October 6, 2017 Plant-based bottles & edible packaging: What does sustainability look like in the bottled water industry?

Source: Beverage Daily

A focus on sustainability is becoming more and more important across all industry sectors: and the bottled water industry is no exception. Plant-based bottles, edible and biodegradable packaging, and programs on water stewardship...

October 5, 2017 Environment Is Big Winner in U.S.–Mexico Colorado River Agreement

Source: NewsDaily

A new agreement signed between the U.S. and Mexico continues an important collaboration in managing the Colorado River, but also gives new hope for reviving stretches of the river that have run dry.

October 5, 2017 Water crisis can be good for business

Source: Times

As the water crisis intensifies‚ South African companies are working furiously to meet demand for smart water restrictors.

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