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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

April 13, 2018 Cities around the world should prepare for running out of water, experts say

Source: CNBC

It's called "Day Zero": when Cape Town, South Africa's bustling port city, sees its water taps run dry, and its population thrust into a perilous situation.

April 10, 2018 A Sperm Whale Found Dead in Spain Had 29 Kilos of Plastic in Its Stomach

Source: Science Alert

Scientists have discovered 29 kilos of plastic in the stomach of a sperm whale, which washed up on the southern coast of Spain in February.

April 4, 2018 Water stewardship and sustainability

Source: The Guardian

The scarcity, misuse and mismanagement of many of the earth’s vital resources in the face of an ever-expanding global population have given rise to discourse and action around managing and conserving the available resources.

April 3, 2018 'Day Zero': How drought, water mismanagement, politics led to crisis

Source: ABC News

Residents of Cape Town rejoiced Friday evening when an unexpected storm rolled over the drought-stricken city, dropping precious rain and loud claps of thunder throughout the night.

April 3, 2018 Antarctica Underwater Melting Worse Than Thought, Study Finds Read Newsmax Article: Study: Antarctica Underwater Melting Worse Than Thought

Source: NewsMax

A new study found hidden underwater melting beneath Antarctica is much worse than previously thought and could become the largest source of sea-level rise.

April 2, 2018 5th day of water shortages in Greece's second-largest city

Source: ABC News

Large sections of the northern Greek city of Thessaloniki have been without water for a fifth day because of damage to an old pipeline. The center and northwestern parts of Greece's second-largest city have been without water...

March 26, 2018 From Not Enough to Too Much, the World’s Water Crisis Explained

Source: National Graphic

“Day Zero,” when at least a million homes in the city of Cape Town, South Africa, will no longer have any running water, was originally scheduled for April. It was recently moved to July. The three-year long drought hasn’t ended,...

March 26, 2018 Oceans face ‘deadly trio’ of threats, study says

Source: Free Malaysia Today

“Risks to the ocean and the ecosystems it supports have been significantly underestimated,” according to the International Programme on the State of the Ocean (IPSO), a non-governmental group of leading scientists....

March 23, 2018 Evidence that the Great Pacific Garbage Patch is rapidly accumulating plastic

Source: Nature

Ocean plastic can persist in sea surface waters, eventually accumulating in remote areas of the world’s oceans. Here we characterise and quantify a major ocean plastic accumulation zone formed in subtropical waters between...

March 22, 2018 World Water Day 2018: UNESCO report confirms trouble for India; major water crisis predicted by 2050

Source: First Post

UNESCO's report ahead of World Water Day on 22 March should serve as a wake-up call for every Indian. It highlights how India is staring at a deepening water crisis with few steps being taken to ameliorate this bleak situation....

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