Being a part of Global Water Watch (GWW), whether you are a monitor or you work in the GWW office, means being part of a community that is dedicated to the same goal: protecting and restoring water quality in the planet. As a community we should celebrate our successes, support each other in difficult situations, and learn from each others’ experiences. In an effort to encourage this type of activity in a community, GWW would like to publicize more stories about the individuals and groups that are making the difference and are part of GWW.
We want to show how monitors are using their data and how groups are working together with their communities to protect their water resources. Thanks to the data collected by citizen volunteers in many countries, GWW is making a real difference in the World’s water quality. Many citizen volunteers monitor water quality at sites on streams, rivers, lakes, bays, or bayous faithfully every month for years. Some discover water quality problems, many do not. Whether or not a monitor unearths a water quality “smoking gun”, all water data collected by GWW-certified monitors is more valuable. This is emphasized each time GWW staff analyze citizen and agency data in preparation for a “data interpretation” presentation for an GWW Group. In these presentations, group efforts are highlighted, water quality data trends are summarized, watershed-level assessments are presented, and land-use relationships relative to water quality are examined. Methods of assessing water quality problems vary. One way is to compare measurements to water quality standards set by Environmental Protection Agencies or by the state. Another way is to compare measurements to the water quality of another “reference” site that is considered “relatively pristine” or not impacted. Thus it is valuable to have water quality measurements from waterbodies lying in the different geologic/soil regions of the state to provide reference water quality conditions for evaluating impacts. Also, several incidents of leaks or spills (sewage leaks, release of chlorinated swimming pool water, etc.) have been “caught “by regular monthly monitoring by citizen volunteer monitors.
Monitors have used their data to bring about positive changes in their watersheds for many years. Each “Success Story” is unique and offers many lessons for other water quality monitors. By hearing these real life stories of taking data to action, it is hopeful that the water monitors throughout the state will be encouraged to strengthen monitoring efforts and be inspired to think creatively when faced with difficult water quality issues. GWW would like to highlight your group’s success stories and put them on our “Map of Success”. We would also like to share helpful tips that you may have for water monitoring and making a difference in your community with other GWW groups. If you have a success story or helpful suggestion to share, you can contact the GWW office by phone or email. These stories can be about your personal experience, that of your group or another monitor. We look forward to hearing from you about your success story!