Feb 09, 2011

World Water Monitoring Day Participation Increases 73% in 2010

Citizens in 85 countries participated by measuring water quality in local water bodies

A total of 212,502 people worldwide visited their local streams, rivers, lakes and other water bodies in celebration of World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD) 2010, 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 2010 results represent a 73% 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 encourages citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. Although some participants acted as individuals, many participated with schools, universities and civic-, environmental- or faith-based groups. Data were reported from 85 countries, four more than in 2009. The U.S. topped the list with 2,931 monitored sites, followed by Spain (1,485), Romania (301) and Malaysia (290).

Participants from Albania to Zimbabwe tested their local waterways for four key water quality indicators: 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. Throughout 2010, the program distributed more than 16,500 WWMD monitoring kits worldwide—500 more kits than were distributed the previous year.

WWMD is officially observed each year on Sept. 18. Participants can monitor and report data to the WWMD database anytime from March 22 (World Water Day) until Dec. 31.

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