Virginia Congressman Jim Moran and U.S. EPA's Assistant Administrator for the Office of Water, Benjamin H. Grumbles joined the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and over 200 participants on September 18th to kick off activities for World Water Monitoring Day 2007, an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting global water resources.
Held annually from Sept. 18 to Oct. 18, World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) engages communities from around the world in monitoring the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies. Since its inception in 2002, more than 80,000 people have participated in 50 countries. In his opening remarks, Congressman Moran said that an event such as World Water Monitoring Day encourages citizens to be "a little more knowledgeable about their own watershed and empowered to protect them."
During the month-long monitoring period, local water bodies are tested for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Participants have until December to report results which are then put into an international database and summarized on the program's Web site.
WEF and its primary international partner, the International Water Association (IWA), encourage citizens and organizations to get involved in hopes of raising awareness of the value of clean water and its relationship to public health and the environment.
"Many communities around the world are unaware of the condition of their water and how their behaviors directly impact the quality of their water resources," said WEF President Mohamed Dahab. "World Water Monitoring Day is a simple and easy way to educate and engage citizens in the protection of this finite resource and was designed to involve the entire community from children to adults, regardless of skill level or experience."
During the September 18th event, students from Kimball Elementary School (Washington, DC), Melvin J. Berman Hebrew Academy (Rockville, Md.) and Beth Tfiloh Dahan Community Day School (Reisterstown, Md.) performed tests on the Potomac River and visited several educational and interactive displays on a number of water quality issues.