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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 24, 2021 Freshwater fish are in "catastrophic" decline with one-third facing extinction, report finds

Source: CBS News

Thousands of fish species are facing "catastrophic" decline — threatening the health, food security and livelihoods of hundreds of millions of people around the world. New research shows that one-third of all freshwater fish now...

February 23, 2021 A Sea of Garbage: Ocean Floor Landfills

Source: Sci Tech Daily

The Messina Strait, a submarine bridge separating the island of Sicily from the Italian Peninsula, is the area with the largest marine litter density worldwide — more than a million objects per square kilometer in some parts — as...

February 22, 2021 Millions of Texans wake up without safe drinking water after winter storm

Source: NBC News

An estimated 10 million Texans were waking up without safe drinking water Monday as state officials sought to ramp up bottled water distribution and calm residents whose electricity bills have spiked after a severe winter storm...

February 19, 2021 Over 13 million Texans facing water crisis after brutal winter storm

Source: CBS News

The crisis in Texas is expanding after a frigid winter storm crippled infrastructure in the state. Although electricity has been mostly restored, more than 13 million people — almost half of the state's population — don't...

February 19, 2021 Over 13 million Texans facing water crisis after brutal winter storm

Source: CBS News

The crisis in Texas is expanding after a frigid winter storm crippled infrastructure in the state. Although electricity has been mostly restored, more than 13 million people — almost half of the state's population — don't...

February 19, 2021 Over 13 million Texans facing water crisis after brutal winter storm

Source: CBS News

The crisis in Texas is expanding after a frigid winter storm crippled infrastructure in the state. Although electricity has been mostly restored, more than 13 million people — almost half of the state's population — don't...

February 12, 2021 IKEA will help turn a Swedish city into a sustainable community

Source: Engadget

IKEA is moving beyond the confines of the eco-friendly home to work on sustainable urban living. The flat-pack giant is partnering with the municipality of Helsingborg in its native Sweden on a green community project, known as...

February 11, 2021 We need more sustainability solutions — can global innovation competitions help unearth them?

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Smoke rises between houses from fuels being burned for cooking, threatening both the environment and human health through carbon dioxide emissions and indoor air pollution. Meanwhile, diapers that have not been properly disposed...

February 11, 2021 RENA, IHA promote role of sustainable hydropower on path to climate goals

Source: Balkan Green Energy News

Hydropower has been sidelined in major economic recovery packages and mostly excluded from the list of favored technologies in the carbon neutrality push. The International Renewable Energy Agency and the International Hydropower...

February 4, 2021 Researchers discover an immense hydrocarbon cycle in the world's ocean

Source: Phys.org

Hydrocarbons and petroleum are almost synonymous in environmental science. After all, oil reserves account for nearly all the hydrocarbons we encounter. But the few hydrocarbons that trace their origin to biological sources may...

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