Associations Tout Increase in Water Monitoring Participation

Last year, 122,599 people worldwide visited their local streams, rivers, lakes and other waterbodies in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), according to the program’s Year in Review report released by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA). The results represent a 67 percent increase in program participation from the previous year.

WWMD is officially observed each year on Sept. 18. Beginning in 2009, the monitoring window was expanded to allow participants the flexibility to monitor and report data to the WWMD database anytime from March 22 (World Water Day) until December 31.

As an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world, WWMD engages citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local waterbodies. Although some participants acted as individuals, many took part with schools, universities, civic, environmental, and faith-based groups. Data was reported from 81 countries, up 11 from the 70 logged in 2008, including the United States with 4,155 monitored sites, followed by Spain (1,651), Malaysia (439) and India (288).

Participants from Argentina to Zimbabwe tested their local waterways for four key water quality indicators: dissolved oxygen (DO), pH (acidity), temperature, and turbidity (clarity). 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. Throughout 2009, the program distributed 16,000 WWMD monitoring kits worldwide—773 more kits than those distributed in the previous year.

WEF and IWA received financial and in-kind support from the program’s primary sponsors including the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PerkinElmer, ITT Corporation, Sinclair Knight Merz, and Smithfield Foods.

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