More than 73,000 people worldwide visited their local streams, rivers, lakes and other water bodies in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) in 2008, according to the program’s Year in Review report released this week by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA).
WWMD 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 water bodies. The goal is to engage one million people in monitoring their local waterways by 2012.
Participants from Argentina to Zambia tested their local waterways for four key water quality indicators: dissolved oxygen (DO), pH (acidity), temperature and turbidity (clarity). Samples were taken in a range of settings—agricultural, commercial, residential and industrial—on six continents.
A total of 73,510 people monitored sites worldwide, which represents a 60% increase over participation in 2007. Some participants acted as individuals while many took part with schools, universities, civic, environmental, and faith-based groups. Data was reported from 70 countries—27 more than the 43 logged in 2007. Sites in the U.S. accounted for approximately 63% of the 5,040 monitored worldwide. After the U.S., Spain (14%), Taiwan (3%) and Malaysia (2%) led global WWMD efforts in the number of sites monitored.
Primary sponsors include the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, PerkinElmer, ITT Corp., CH2M HILL and Smithfield Foods.
WEF and IWA recognized the contributions of Procter & Gamble (P&G) to WWMD’s “Wash Your Hands, Save a Life” campaign, which was featured in 2008 as part of the United Nations’ “International Year of Sanitation.” Thanks to P&G, WWMD included a bar of biodegradable, environmentally friendly soap and a handwashing fact sheet in the 14,000 water monitoring kits that were distributed to people in 70 countries worldwide.
WWMD is officially observed each year on Sept. 18. Beginning in 2009, the monitoring window will expand, allowing participants the flexibility to monitor and report data to the WWMD database anytime from March 22 (World Water Day) until December 31. The 2008 figures reflect data submitted between Sept. 18 and Dec.18.
Source: Water Environment Federation, International Water Association