Test. Share. Protect. World Water Monitoring Day 2012!

World Water Monitoring DayBy Trey Cody

Did you ever wonder how information is gathered on the condition of our streams, lakes, estuaries, and coastal waters?  Or how we know whether it is safe to use these waters for drinking or recreational activities like fishing, swimming, and boating?

September 18th is your day to not only ask these questions, but to get out and be involved in the data collection yourself… because September 18th is World Water Monitoring Day!

You don’t have to consider yourself a scientist to help keep tabs on the health of your local watershed.  As part of World Water Monitoring Day, you can do your own monitoring tests and enter your results into an international database.  Simple monitoring kits are available for purchase by anyone interested in participating.

The health of our water bodies is important more than just one day per year, which is why the World Water Monitoring Day Challenge runs annually from March 22nd (the United Nations’ World Water Day) until December 31st. Events are held, and tests can be conducted and results submitted at any time. The purpose of the challenge is to encourage people everywhere to TEST the quality of their waterways, SHARE their findings, and PROTECT our most precious resource.

Watch this video for background on the event and to learn how to test for the four indicators (Turbidity, pH, Temperature, and Dissolved Oxygen) of the World Water Monitoring Day Challenge.  By just testing these four parameters – and it’s easy to do – we can learn a lot about the health of our waterways.

There are lots of materials out there to help you learn more about the importance of water monitoring. EPA’s Monitoring and Assessing Water Quality page and other outreach materials can help get people excited about water quality.

So get out and assess your waters!  Tell us about your water monitoring experiences and what you found in your data collection.

About the Author: Trey Cody has been an intern with EPA’s Water Protection Division since graduation from high school in 2010. He is currently attending the Pennsylvania State University.

2012 marks the 40th anniversary of the Clean Water Act, the nation’s law for protecting our most irreplaceable resource.  Throughout the year, EPA will be highlighting different aspects of the history and successes of the Clean Water Act in reducing pollution in the past 40 years.  The month of September will focus on Action and Education.