Yamuna Waterkeeper Works with Citizen Scientists to Protect Local Waterways

Yamuna Waterkeeper

By Minakshi Arora

Yamuna Waterkeeper is helping build public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources in India by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies.

Water, Water Everywhere, Not a Drop to Drink! How truly these lines depict the present scenario in India. There are a lot of organizations, people and experts involved in international efforts to provide safe, sustainable drinking water for all, yet the efforts are not enough.

This year, India’s Trust for Research on Earth and Environment (TREE) and Yamuna Waterkeeper joined a global environmental movement, World Water Monitoring Challenge, an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources by engaging citizens to conduct basic monitoring of their local water bodies. World Water Monitoring Challenge is truly a team effort initiated by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA).

WEF provides technical education and training for thousands of water quality professionals who clean water and return it safely to the environment. WEF members have proudly protected public health, served their local communities and supported clean water worldwide since 1928.

IWA is a global reference point for water professionals, spanning the continuum between research and practice and covering all facets of the water cycle. IWA addresses challenges of water and sanitation through promoting collaboration, knowledge development and integrated, sustainable solutions. 

TREE and Yamuna Waterkeeper participated in World Water Monitoring Challenge. Delhi, Delhi NCR and some areas of Uttar Pradesh were selected to monitor their waterways. Communities in surrounding areas were first educated on why it's important to test the water quality. Once they understood the purpose of monitoring their water, they were taught how to test it.

India’s Trust for Research on Earth and Environment and Yamuna Waterkeeper took part in this year's World Water Monitoring Challenge to test the water quality in their communities.

Yamuna Waterkeeper and volunteers of TREE organized these training workshops at various places in the community. The water testing kits were donated by WEF. Local communities, including students from different institutions, were trained on testing PH levels, oxygen, temperature and turbidity in their water. They tested these parameters and recorded the data. The results were later uploaded to the database on the World Water Monitoring Challenge website. According to the final results, waterways in India are not clean, especially the water quality in Yamuna River basin which is not potable. Turbidity and PH levels were high and dissolved oxygen was not present in most areas tested.

Local communities were eager and enthusiastic to know their water quality, but after the findings they were disappointed and came forward to share their health issues. They shared with us their stories, hoping their voice will have an international platform to be heard by the local government. These communities are struggling to have access to clean and affordable water. At the end of all of the events, the participants realized the importance of keeping waterways clean.

Local communities, including students from different institutions, were trained on testing PH levels, oxygen, temperature and turbidity in their water.

The data that was collected pointed to the effect humans have on their environment. TREE is working to implement an environmental campaign to raise the awareness of community residents on environmental protection. 

We all enjoyed participating in the World Water Challenge. We hope we can get more schools and communities to do so next year.

Visit EcoWatch’s WATER page for more related news on this topic.


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