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.

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