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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 19, 2015 NASA Study Finds Increased Risk of U.S. Megadrought

Ecology - The Fifth Assessment Report, issued by the United Nations îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî (IPCC) in 2013, synthesized the available scientific studies and reported that increases in evaporation...

February 19, 2015 Miami is already sinking under rising sea levels

Grist - In 2014, the îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeî released its fifth Assessment Report, predicting that oceans would rise more than three feet by 2100. Those projections make for some alarming visions...

February 18, 2015 Ohio Supreme Court: State controls fracking

Source: Cincinnati.com

Certain local zoning laws can't be used to supersede Ohio's state-level system for regulating oil and gas drilling, a fiercely divided Ohio Supreme Court ruled Tuesday.

February 18, 2015 New York City Could See Up To Six Feet Of Sea Level Rise This Century: Report

Source: Huff Post

Climate change is already impacting New York City with rising temperatures and sea levels, which will only worsen as the century continues, according to a report released Tuesday from a panel of scientific experts

February 18, 2015 Global Ocean Acidity Revealed in New Maps

Source: Live Science

Ocean acidification can now be seen from space, highlighting an ongoing danger of climate change and revealing the regions most at risk.

February 17, 2015 Brazil faces water rationing amid worst drought in 84 years

Source: RTCC News

Brazil is struggling to supply enough water to its 200 million people, amid the worst drought in 84 years. São Paulo’s 20 million citizens face having their tap water cut off five days a week, in a bid to conserve dwindling...

February 17, 2015 State’s (CA) population growth expected to outstrip water conservation in coming years

Source: Sacramento Bee

California water agencies are on track to satisfy a state mandate to reduce water consumption 20 percent by 2020. But according to their own projections, that savings won’t be enough to keep up with population growth just a...

February 16, 2015 California drought prompts San Francisco to utilize treated waste water

89.3 KPCC - As California's drought drags on, îone waterî district east of San Francisco is getting creative in their water recycling efforts. The water district is giving away treated sewage water to be utilized for...

February 16, 2015 EPA Releases Stormwater Management Tool

Environmental Leader - The new tool will enable users to add climate projections based on the îIntergovernmental Panel on Climate Changeîâs climate change scenarios to existing simulations to determine the...

February 13, 2015 Plastic Ocean Waste Levels Going Up, Study Says

Source: NY Times

Some eight million metric tons of plastic waste makes its way into the world’s oceans each year, and the amount of the debris is likely to increase greatly over the next decade unless nations take strong measures to dispose of...

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