Certain scenes from old western movies showed cowboys stopping to sojourn at a nearby watering hole to fill their canteens and continue on their cross-country journey without dying from thirst. We did not see these cowboys or the convoy of covered wagons take out their water testing kits to see what waterborne pollutants lurked in the water before they drank it. It was not needed as much then as it is now.
World Water Monitoring Day (WWMD), an international education and outreach program, builds public awareness and involvement for protecting water resources around the world. WWMD encourages individuals to conduct basic testing and monitoring of their local bodies of water. Participants can use water test kits to take samples of local water and keep track of water quality parameters such as temperature, acidity, clarity and dissolved oxygen. Results are shared with global participating communities on the WWMD website.
Officially, World Water Monitoring Day is celebrated on September 18. The monitoring window was extended from March 22 (World Water Day) through December 31. The coordinators of World Water Monitoring Day, the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA) are planning to expand participation in 100 countries to one million people by 2012.
Today we are facing a myriad of contaminants lurking in our outdoor water supply that stifles our ability to “dip and sip” like we once did. Even if we do not drink water from a nearby pond, lake or stream, the condition of this water still affects wildlife, the environment, fish and other water-abiding creatures.
If you have not tested your home drinking water lately, it does not hurt to sporadically do so regardless of whether you have well water or municipal water. You may be surprised by your test results. What you do not know just may be hazardous to your health. Remember, there is still time to submit your data to the WWMD database before the December 31 deadline.