2007 Saw Great Numbers Monitoring World Waters

More than 46,000 people worldwide visited their local streams, rivers, lakes and other waterbodies in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day in 2007, according to the program's Year in Review report released by the Water Environment Federation and the International Water Association.

The celebration is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local waterbodies. The goal is to engage 1 million people by 2012.

Participants from Argentina to Zimbabwe tested their local waterways for dissolved oxygen, pH, temperature, and turbidity. Some groups also monitored for the presence of certain macroinvertebrates such as dragonflies, mayflies, and scuds. Samples were taken in a range of settings--agricultural, commercial, residential and industrial--on six continents.

A total of 46,117 people monitored sites worldwide, which represents a 61 percent increase over participation in 2006. Some participants acted as individuals while many took part with schools, universities, civic, environmental, and faith-based groups. Data was reported from 43 countries--four more than the 39 logged in 2006. Sites in the United States accounted for approximately 63 percent of the 3,544 monitored worldwide.

After the United States, Taiwan (444) and Spain (343) led global efforts in the number of sites monitored.

Program coordinators acknowledged financial and in-kind support in 2007 from the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PerkinElmer, ITT Corp., CH2M Hill, and Smithfield Foods.

The "day" is officially observed each year on Sept. 18, which marks the beginning of a month-long period of water quality monitoring that ends on Oct. 18. Due to the high volume of participants in 2007, the monitoring period was extended until Dec. 18. This date also served as the deadline for reporting data to the database for inclusion in the year-end report.

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