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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

February 25, 2020 Climate change is drying up the Colorado River, putting millions at risk of 'severe water shortages'

Source: CNN

he Colorado River -- which provides water to more than 40 million people from Denver to Los Angeles -- has seen its flow dwindle by 20 percent compared to the last century, and scientists have found that climate change is mainly...

February 24, 2020 Key values for sustainable development

Source: The Packer

The Packer's readers have voted, and what they deem to be the most important value associated with sustainability is the efficient use of water and inputs.

February 21, 2020 Water reuse could be key for future of hydraulic fracturing

Source: Phys.org

Enough water will come from the ground as a byproduct of oil production from unconventional reservoirs during the coming decades to theoretically counter the need to use fresh water for hydraulic fracturing operations in many of...

February 18, 2020 Inside Australia's climate emergency: the taps run dry

Source: The Guardian

...within 12 months, drought had bitten so hard that the dam the kids used to cool off was almost empty. The town water supply — never drinkable, but usable for laundry, toilets and watering plants — was turned off.

January 31, 2020 Changing Tides — How Breweries are Combating Water Shortages and Working Towards Sustainability

Source: Good Beer Hunting

Water is both beer's primary ingredient (on average, 90-95% of what’s in your glass) and its largest waste byproduct. And in the future, it may also become the beer industry’s greatest liability.

January 29, 2020 The Pacific Ocean is so acidic that it's dissolving Dungeness crabs' shells

Source: CNN

The Pacific Ocean is becoming more acidic, and the cash-crabs that live in its coastal waters are some of its first inhabitants to feel its effects.

January 23, 2020 US drinking water contamination with ‘forever chemicals’ far worse than scientists thought

Source: The Guardian

The contamination of US drinking water with manmade “forever chemicals” is far worse than previously estimated with some of the highest levels found in Miami, Philadelphia and New Orleans, said a report on Wednesday by an...

December 18, 2019 Evinrude, Mercury recognized for sustainability

Source: Boating Industry

Evinrude and Mercury Marine were both recently named Green Master campanies by the Wisconsin Sustainable Business Council (WSBC).

December 16, 2019 U.N. Climate Summit Goes To Extra Time, But Ends With Major Questions Unresolved

Source: NPR

The global climate talks in Madrid ended on Sunday – two days after its scheduled closing, and with little to show for the marathon session.

December 9, 2019 WATER MANAGEMENT CRUCIAL FOR SUSTAINABLE AGRICULTURE

Source: Industry Global News

Water management practices are extremely crucial for sustainable farms. It particularly holds importance for water-scarce areas. Depleting groundwater tables and growing water scarcity is further aggravating the problem.

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