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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

December 28, 2018 Collecting clean water from air, inspired by desert life

Source: PHYS.org

Humans can get by in the most basic of shelters, can scratch together a meal from the most humble of ingredients. But we can't survive without clean water. And in places where water is scarce—the world's deserts, for...

December 28, 2018 Melting Arctic Ice Adds 14,000 Tons of Water Per Second to Rising Sea Levels, Study Says

Source: Yahoo Finance

Melting Arctic ice from glaciers and surface ice is producing the equivalent of 14,000 tons per second of water into the Earth’s oceans, a recent scientific survey found. Examining land-ice ...

December 21, 2018 Amid Drinking Water Crisis, New York Panel Calls for Stricter Limits on Pollutants

Source: Governing

A state panel created in response to drinking-water crises in the City of Newburgh and other places in New York has recommended the state set strict contamination limits for three chemicals that include the type that polluted...

December 20, 2018 Israeli Company May Have Solution to World’s Water Shortage

Source: Breaking Israel News

Water shortage is emerging as a global crisis, with some countries scrambling to find solutions. Israel’s Watergen has developed a technology to collect water from the air. Will this be enough to solve the problem

December 13, 2018 Heavy Snowfall on California Mountains Good Sign for Water Supply

Source: KTLA

The snowpack measured 106% of average, according to the state’s snow survey taken late last week. That’s more than double the 47% of average measured on the same day last year.

December 12, 2018 Trump EPA Proposes Major Rollback Of Federal Water Protections

Source: NPR

Vast amounts of wetlands and thousands of miles of U.S. waterways would no longer be federally protected by the Clean Water Act under a new proposal by the Trump administration.

December 10, 2018 A push to make fracking waste water usable in agriculture — and even for drinking

Source: Washington Post

Fracking requires a huge amount of water, a major concern in dry Western states that otherwise welcome the practice. But New Mexico thinks it can mitigate that problem by pushing oil companies to treat and recycle fracking waste...

December 6, 2018 As U.S. Heads Towards Water Shortages, It Should Turn to Israel For Solutions

Source: The Tower

As Americans turn on their taps, most are in the dark about a crisis coming to at least a third of U.S. households in the next four years: a lack of potable water. Experts predict that by 2022, 42 million Americans will be unable...

November 27, 2018 Ocean circulation in North Atlantic is at its weakest for 1,500 years - and at levels that previously triggered a mini Ice Age, study warns

Source: Daily Mail (UK)

Researchers have discovered that water in the North Atlantic has 'dramatically weakened.'The study shows the levels are at their lowest of for 1,500 years - and climate change is to blame. Researchers warn the currents will have...

November 13, 2018 Would flooding the deserts help stop global warming?

Source: NBC

A Silicon Valley venture capital firm, Y Combinator, unveiled the radical desert flooding plan as one of four “moonshot” scenarios that it hopes innovators will explore as potential remedies to catastrophic global warming

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