Citizen Science and Water Monitoring: How Healthy is the Water Near You?

On September 18th of each year, the World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC) encourages people around the world to test the quality of the water near them, share their findings, and become inspired to protect one of the most important (if not the most important) resource on our planet.

In celebration of the WWMC, our editors are floating a handful of water projects by you in our latest newsletter!



World Water Monitoring Day

Use a DIY kit to sample your local water body for basic water quality parameters: temperature, acidity (pH), clarity (turbidity), and dissolved oxygen. Create world map of the health of water bodies in the process. Get started!



OPAL Water Survey (UK)

The Open Air Laboratories (OPAL) network is a UK-wide citizen science initiative. The OPAL water survey invites you to share observations of animals living in your local pond to contribute to valuable research about the water’s health.  Get started!


Stream Team: California 

Each month, Stream Team volunteers test common water quality parameters at 47 stream sites in the watersheds of the Goleta Valley, Carpinteria Valley and Ventura River. Volunteers use portable meters to test in-stream parameters such as temperature, dissolved oxygen, pH, turbidity, and conductivity. Get started!


Wissahickon Creek Watch Program 

Monitor Wissahickon (PA) Creek and its tributaries primarily using visual assessments. Adopt a 1-­2 mile section on public land from the headwaters in North Wales to Fairmount Park. Submit data for algae cover, animal observations, erosion, percent shade and a myriad of other indicators of stream health.  Get started!



Wisconsin Water Action Volunteers

This is a WI-statewide program for Wisconsin citizens who want to learn about and improve the quality of Wisconsin’s streams and rivers. The program is coordinated through a partnership between the Wisconsin Department of Natural Resources and the University of Wisconsin – Cooperative Extension. Get started!


Leaf Pack

The Leaf Pack Network® is an international network of teachers, students, and citizen monitors investigating their local stream ecosystem. Citizen scientists use tree leaves and aquatic insects to determine the health of their stream and to understand its ecology. Leaf Pack also easily be implemented into any curriculum and fulfills many state and national science standards. Get started!



Find even more opportunities to get involved in water monitoring projects!

Related link: Just Add Water! Results from the 2013 WWMC

Related resources:  EPA’s Water Monitoring Resources

Want more? Search from more than 800 citizen science projects on SciStarter!

Image Credits
Stream Team California: Stream Team
Wissahickon Creek Watch Program: Tai-Ming Chang
Leaf Pack: Shroud Water Resource Center

Categories: Citizen Science

About the Author

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh

Arvind Suresh is science communicator and a former laboratory biologist, he has a Master’s degree in Cell Biology and Molecular Physiology from the University of Pittsburgh. He enjoys reading, teaching, talking and writing science. Connect with him on Twitter @suresh_arvind.