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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

January 19, 2018 New emergency measures for Cape Town as water crisis reaches ‘point of no return’

Source: Business Tech

The City of Cape Town says that reaching ‘day zero’ in its water crises is now practically a given, and has provided the new emergency measures that need to be followed.

January 9, 2018 How Much Water Should You Drink A Day? It’s Actually Not What You Think

Source: Bustle.com

Staying hydrated is necessary in order to feel energized, flush out waste, and get nutrients to flow throughout your body — amongst other things.

January 4, 2018 Food-safety expert warns latest bizarre Silicon Valley $60 'raw water' trend could quickly turn deadly

Source: Business Insider

According to The Times, demand for unfiltered water is skyrocketing as tech-industry insiders develop a taste for water that hasn't been treated, to prevent the spread of bacteria or other contaminants.

December 28, 2017 California Says Nestle Lacks Permits To Extract Millions Of Gallons Of Water

Source: NPR

California regulators say Nestle may have to stop collecting a large portion of the water it bottles from the San Bernardino National Forest, because it lacks the legal permits for millions of gallons of water. Nestle sells the...

December 22, 2017 Water covers around 71 percent of the planet and keeps us alive — here's why water matters

Source: CNBC

"Energy needs water and water needs energy," Kala Vairavamoorthy, executive director of the International Water Association, told CNBC's "Sustainable Energy".

December 13, 2017 English rivers polluted by powerful insecticides, first tests reveal

Source: The Guardian

Neonicotinoids, banned on flowering crops, were found in nearly all rivers tested, increasing concerns over their impact on fish and birds

December 13, 2017 3 ways the course of water sustainability changed in 2017

Source: GreenBiz

It is always difficult to reflect back on a year and identify the most notable annual events on any given issue. Water is no different and perhaps more challenging

December 8, 2017 Editorial: Water woes are a clear health crisis

Source: Stuff

EDITORIAL: Clean drinking water is a basic expectation in a prosperous, first-world country like New Zealand. This makes it astonishing that as many as one in five of us could get sick from the simple act of drinking from the...

December 4, 2017 The Surprising Solution To The Global Water Crisis: Solar Power

Source: Forbes

According to the World Health Organization (WHO) in 2017, an astounding 2.1 billion or 3 in 10 people globally lack ready access to safe water at home. Within this, 844 million lack access to basic water services and 159 million...

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...

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