FIRST EVER WORLD WATER MONITORING DAY TO BE HELD

Thousands of ordinary citizens and groups around the world will test their local water supply on October 18th in the first ever global evaluation of the health of the world’s water.

World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), which will be an annual event, will give a snapshot of the status of lakes, rivers, streams, and coastal waters, including in the United Kingdom. The London-based International Water Association (IWA), which is co-organizing the event with America’s Clean Waters Foundation (ACWF) has established a website enabling the test data to be collected and entered into a new database for global water monitoring.

“In order for meaningful social change to occur, you need a grass-roots constituency,” says Andrew Speers, IWA’s International Coordinator for World Water Monitoring Day. “This event will give concerned citizens an understanding of the condition of their local waterways, enabling them to take positive action themselves or to petition governments and companies who operate in their water sheds.”

“This is about community empowerment” he says.

The tests will be carried out by citizens and groups who all use the same water testing kit, purchased online at www.worldwatermonitoringday.org The kit measures four key indicators of water quality:

  • dissolved Oxygen – the amount of oxygen available in the water to sustain aquatic life;
  • pH – relative acidity or alkalinity;
  • turbidity/clarity — how clear or muddy the water is;
  • temperature — an important factor if it varies significantly from the temperatures that would normally be expected (e.g. as the result of the discharge of cooling water)

The results will give an indication of the status of water quality at that location at that particular time.

In this first year, eight countries are officially participating in WWMD – UK, US, Canada, Australia, Nigeria, South Korea, Mexico and Gabon, but individuals from many other nations will also be involved.

Between September 18th and October 18th water monitoring groups, schoolchildren and others have logged their test results on the project website to feed into this global process.

“In time, World Water Monitoring Day can become as important as World Environment Day as a way for citizens to get involved,” says Michael Rouse, President of the International Water Association and former Head of the British government’s Drinking Water Inspectorate. “We’re already working on plans next year to involve local authorities, businesses and schools in the UK and other countries.”

In Britain, GLOBE, an environmental education programme using the Internet, has distributed water kits, along with posters and information packs to 370 schools around the country as part of the science curriculum.

“World Water Monitoring Day is a great way for everyone to enjoy taking part in an activity that makes a difference to individuals and their local community. The kit is easy to use and it takes only minutes to get useful results,” says Suzanne Welch, Project Co-ordinator for GLOBE-UK.

The WWMD was based on the successful National Water Monitoring Day organized throughout the United States by America’s Clean Water Foundation. More than 75,000 people participated, and over 5,000 water sites were monitored.

The tests conducted for WWMD are based on the Water Quality Index (WQI), developed by 100 scientists, which measures water samples to assess their overall quality. The WWMD test kits use water science that enables everyone to get involved in water monitoring.

People can order the testing kits at any time throughout the year in order to check local water quality.

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Interviews are available with Michael Rouse, President of the International Water Association or Andrew Speers, IWA’s International Coordinator of World Water Monitoring Day. To schedule, contact Juliet Heller Tel 01621 868083 Mob 07946 616150.

For further information visit www.worldwatermonitoringday.org[/sws_grey_box]

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