world water monitoring day

Disaster and Education

By Howard Cantor

Due to the recent flooding in Colorado, EPA and other agencies will be monitoring water quality for health and safety issues over the next several months. But on World Water Monitoring Day this past September, a very different group of people were monitoring the water in Denver. Students from Polaris Elementary and Noel Elementary, along with other volunteers, took water samples from the South Platte River as part of the World Water Monitoring Challenge.
 

I was honored to be asked to help out with this event where students learned about various aspects of water quality. Water samples were taken to test for PH, temperature and turbidity. Students helped volunteers take the samples and actual measurements of the water. They also sampled macroinvertebrates, like crawfish, snails and dragonflies, so the kids could see these organisms up close.

We work every day to protect the environment, many of us from behind our desks. It was a pleasure to be able to work first-hand with the kids and to learn how the recent floods have affected our water quality. The results of the samples will go into the World Water Monitoring Challenge Database.
  

From the flooding disaster, a unique educational opportunity was provided to these students: they were given the chance to see how a natural disaster affects the quality of our water first-hand. My heart goes out to all who have suffered from the floods here in Colorado. I hope these young people will use the lessons they have learned today to help protect the environment tomorrow.

About the Author: Howard Cantor is the Deputy Regional Administrator for Region 8. Howard joined EPA in 1994 as a Presidential Management Intern with the Office of Policy, Planning, and Evaluation.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Happy Belated World Water Monitoring Day

By Jeffery Robichaud

If you missed it last week, September 18th was World Water Monitoring Day.  Well, actually several years ago the day morphed into a whole month long affair.  This past year the World Water Monitoring Day program also morphed into the World Water Monitoring Challenge.  From the website, the World Water Monitoring Challenge:

 …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.

In 2011, approximately 340,000 people in 77 countries monitored their local waterways. We challenge you to test the quality of your waterways, share your findings, and protect our most precious resource!

My first World Water Monitoring Day was back in 2002.  I dragged my then nine month old son out as a prop for a photo of me sampling our local stream.   There wasn’t much he could do at that age to help, and honestly I have no idea what I was thinking bringing him out anyway.  I do remember back to how nice a Fall day it was and my wife’s excitement at using this relatively new thing called a “digital camera.”

Over the years I have had the opportunity to get involved with a number of outreach events in the Kansas City area revolving around World Water Monitoring Day.  It is fun to get out with teachers and students to explain the importance of water quality and how what we measure in the water gives us information about its health, yet there is still something really special about going out just with my own boys.  If you are like me and missed September 18th this year you still have time.  In fact you can find out about local watershed groups and stream teams in your area by clicking on the following link.    You can learn how to start your own voluntary monitoring group here.  It’s been a hot one this year so it might still be a couple of weeks before it is brisk enough to wear long sleeve shirts.  I will be sure to take my guys back out to the same spot for our perfect fall day.

About the Author: Jeffery Robichaud is a second generation EPA scientist who has worked for the Agency since 1998. He currently serves as Deputy Director of EPA Region 7′s Environmental Services Division.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action, and EPA does not verify the accuracy or science of the contents of the blog.

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Around the Water Cooler: World Water Monitoring Day

By Lahne Mattas-Curry

Scientists collect samples and monitor waterToday is World Water Monitoring Day. With heavy storms promised from New York to Virginia, drought across the southwest and wildfires burning across the northwest, our water quality and quantity continue to face great challenges. Since the Clean Water Act (which turns 40 this year) was signed into action, the U.S. EPA has set standards for our water quality and to limit pollution affecting our waterways. But today, pollutants might not be dumped right into our waterways, sometimes the effects are from indirect or non-point sources.

Luckily, EPA scientists and engineers and their partners have stayed ahead of the game and are always developing new ways to monitor our water in order to keep it safe.

For example, our Watershed Assessment, Tracking and Environmental Results tool (WATERS ←see what we did there?) links several different water quality databases together so that information can be more easily shared.

Another example includes the Stormwater Management Model (SWMM—we are clever with the acronyms!) which looks at a variety of scenarios like rainfall or snow accumulation and melting or interflow between groundwater and drainage systems. Since its inception, SWMM has been used in thousands of sewer and stormwater studies throughout the world.

To learn more about our tools and models, please click here.

About the Author: A regular “It All Starts with Science” blogger, Lahne Mattas-Curry works with EPA’s Safe and Sustainable Water Resources team.

Editor's Note: The opinions expressed here are those of the author. They do not reflect EPA policy, endorsement, or action.

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