Feb 18, 2010

Global Participation in World Water Monitoring Day Increased by 67% in 2009

More than 120,000 people on six continents monitored the condition of their local water bodies

A total of 122,599 people worldwide visited their local streams, rivers, lakes and other water bodies in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) 2009, according to the program’s “Year in Review” report released this week by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Assn. (IWA). The 2009 results represent a 67% increase in program participation from the previous year.

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 water bodies. 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 U.S. 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, 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.

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 any time from March 22 (World Water Day) until Dec. 31.

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 Corp., Sinclair Knight Merz and Smithfield Foods.