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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

January 29, 2021 5 challenges to sustainable groundwater management in Texas and how to tackle them

Source: Environmental Defense Fund

In 50 years, Texas’ population is expected to grow by 70%. That’s 20 million more Texans who will need water in a state that has repeatedly faced drought-induced water shortages and will likely suffer more intense droughts in the...

January 20, 2021 What Lee and H&M Pack Into Their ‘Next Gen’ Sustainable Denim

Source: Sourcing Journal

It’s a “holistic and ambitious collaboration,” the American denim maker and the Swedish retailer say, that will culminate next month with the debut of H&M’s first-ever 100 percent recycled cotton jeans, along with cotton-free...

January 19, 2021 The best sustainable tech at CES 2021

Source: Mashable

It's refreshing to see a handful of devices at this year's CES tech conference that are trying to mitigate their environmental impact, even if it's just to reduce water and energy use. Here are some of this year's best tech...

January 19, 2021 World's oceans continue to warm, despite reduced carbon emissions

Source: CGTN

Despite reductions in global carbon emissions due to the COVID-19 lockdown, the world's oceans in 2020 were the warmest in recorded history, according to a new study.

January 15, 2021 Former Michigan governor and 8 others face charges in the Flint water crisis that left 12 people dead

Source: CNN

Twelve people died and more than 80 were sickened during the Flint water crisis, and now authorities are holding Michigan officials responsible. In a news conference Thursday, prosecutors announced charges against nine officials...

January 12, 2021 L’Oréal’s Tech Incubator showcases sustainability and personalization at CES

Source: Glossy

Launched through the L’Oréal Technology Incubator, the sink, called “Water Saver,” works by minimizing water droplets while simultaneously increasing their velocity. The water essentially maintains the same water pressure while...

January 12, 2021 More than 50 countries commit to protection of 30% of Earth's land and oceans

Source: The Guardian

The High Ambition Coalition (HAC) for Nature and People, which includes the UK and countries from six continents, made the pledge to protect at least 30% of the planet’s land and oceans before the One Planet summit in Paris on...

January 4, 2021 UAE Ministry, Israel's 'Mekorot' discuss sustainable solutions for water security

Source: Mechanical, Electrical & Plumbing

The UAE’s Ministry of Energy and Infrastructure has welcomed a high-level delegation from Israel’s national water company, Mekorot, to discuss frameworks for joint cooperation and for exchanged experiences supporting the...

December 28, 2020 Climate-Smart Water Management Is Fundamental For Sustainable Development

Source: Living Architecture Monitor

In response to the urgent call for action on climate change, more than 110 countries have pledged carbon neutrality by 2050 and many more are working on improving their national climate targets ahead of the United Nations Climate...

December 10, 2020 Water Wise and Sustainably Made

Source: Metropolis

Not only do they save water throughout the life of the building, Duravit’s sustainable manufacturing cuts down the project’s embodied emissions. The brand’s DuraCeram® material enables thin-walled products, which use fewer...

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