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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

May 8, 2019 New study claims 43 states expose millions to dangerous chemical in drinking water

Source: CBS

A new report by the non-profit Environmental Working Group and Northeastern University finds people in nearly every state in the country are exposed to unhealthy drinking water. According to the researchers, 43 states have...

May 6, 2019 Pennsylvania to Test Drinking Water for Toxic Chemicals

Source: U.S. News & World Report

PHILADELPHIA (AP) — Pennsylvania is set to begin sampling drinking water across the state later this month in a bid to determine whether a class of highly toxic chemicals is contaminating the supply. Department of...

May 3, 2019 Hurricane experts warn it's not the wind, but the water that really kills

Source: Orlando Sentinel

If experts have learned anything about hurricanes in the last two seasons it’s that wind is not the major culprit in hurricane fatalities. It'’s the water, said Ken Graham Director of NOAA’s National Weather...

May 3, 2019 Towards sustainable desalination

Source: UN Environment

Did you know that several countries, such as the Maldives, Malta and the Bahamas, meet all their water needs through the desalination process—that is, they convert seawater to freshwater?

April 29, 2019 EU food sector unprepared for droughts set to hit palm oil, soy & cocoa

Source: FoodNavigator

Around 38% of the EU’s water demand lies outside its borders with 98% of this embodied in imported agricultural products, according to a new report published by the Water Footprint Network. This leaves the bloc...

April 26, 2019 Report ranks oil companies by water, chemical management practices

Source: Houston Chronicle

A new report from the shareholder advocacy group As You Sow and investment advisory firm Boston Common Asset Management ranks oil companies based on their water and chemicals management practices. Released on Wednesday morning,...

April 26, 2019 Dirtiest week for water in EPA history

Source: The Hill

The views expressed by contributors are their own and not the view of The Hill Before the Clean Water Act was passed in 1972, our nation’s waters were in trouble. Lake Erie was virtually dead ...

April 24, 2019 Corporate water sustainability goals are mostly just talk

Source: Quartz

Corporations in many sectors of industry use a lot of water. In general, industry uses around 20% of the world’s freshwater withdrawals, while in the wealthiest nations, corporate water consumption can be as much as 40% of the...

April 18, 2019 The amount of plastic in the ocean is a lot worse than we thought, study says

Source: CNN

If you're sad when you see stories about dead whales washing ashore with dozens of pounds of plastic in their bellies or feel guilty when you forget to bring your reusable bags to the grocery store, there's a good reason.

April 17, 2019 World Water Week Closes With A Call For Special Focus On Water In Development

Source: Water Online

As input to the United Nations General Assembly later this month, the Stockholm International Water Institute (SIWI) presented the Stockholm Statement during the closing ceremony of the World Water Week in Stockholm. The...

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