Held annually between September 18 and October 18, the program engages communities in monitoring the condition of local rivers, streams, estuaries and other water bodies. Since its inception, more than 80,000 people have participated in 50 countries.
"As an international water quality organization, part of WEF's mission is to educate the public about the importance of protecting our water resources," said WEF Executive Director Bill Bertera. "This unique and exciting program not only allows us to broaden our reach and scope but is a wonderful complement to the Federation's current public education programs."
Originally a national event, the program was founded in 2002 by Robbi Savage, president and CEO of America’s Clean Water Foundation. October 18 was selected as World Water Monitoring Day in recognition of the inception of the U.S. Clean Water Act — a milestone in efforts to restore and protect U.S. water resources — enacted by Congress in 1972. World Water Monitoring Day became an international program the following year.
Communities around the world monitor their selected sites between September 18 and October 18. An easy-to-use test kit enables everyone from children to adults to sample local water bodies for a core set of water quality parameters including temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity) and dissolved oxygen (DO). Results are then put into an international database and summarized on the program's Web site.
The kit ($13.00 plus shipping & handling within U.S.; international costs may vary) contains a step-by-step instruction booklet, one set of hardware (collection jar, pH test tube, DO vial, Secchi Disk decal and a thermometer), pH and dissolved oxygen reagent tablets for 50 tests and a material safety data sheet.
"We see this as a tremendous opportunity for WEF," said WEF President Michael Read. "The Federation embraces this program wholeheartedly and we look forward to growing it in years to come."
Registration will open on July 31 for the 2006 monitoring period. WEF and its primary international partner, the International Water Association (IWA), are inviting citizens and organizations from around the globe to share in this unique experience of water quality monitoring. A special launch event is expected to be held in Washington, DC later this year.