The old adage “cleanliness is next to godliness” applies to water when it is consumed by millions of people for the sake of everyday survival.
On Saturday, Oct. 18, America’s Clean Water Foundation is sponsoring World Water Monitoring Day. During the past month the foundation has given people the opportunity to test their water and enter the results in an online international database. Water testing kits can be purchased for $18.35 at www.worldwatermonitoringday.org and can be used up to 50 times. Although data collecting for the online database will end on Saturday, test kits will be sold through Oct. 24, World Water Monitoring Day coordinator Ed Moyer said.
“All living creatures rely on water to varying degrees to sustain their very being,” Moyer said. “For people throughout the world, clean water is important for individual heath and hygiene, as well as for agriculture, commerce and recreation.”
Santa Barbara ChannelKeeper is a local nonprofit organization participating in World Water Monitoring Day. SB ChannelKeeper protects and restores the Santa Barbara Channel and local watersheds with help from the community. The organization holds monthly beach cleanups in which participants not only pick up trash but also submit records of all the trash collected to a national database.
As part of World Water Monitoring Day, participants will test the pH, dissolved oxygen, temperature and clarity of water. These factors vary depending on where the water is from, but the normal pH level for water is seven.
Unlike the human body, water does not have an average temperature, Moyer said. This is because varying depths cause the sun’s rays to heat some areas of water more than others. Sediment buildup affects the clarity of water. Areas of water that are stagnant have poor water quality because they are murky. Heavy vegetation and lack of oxygen also contribute to murky or poor water quality because they enhance stagnation.
America’s Clean Water Foundation started World Water Monitoring Day last year to celebrate the 30th anniversary of the signing of the Clean Water Act. Last year 75,000 people participated in the event.
The Clean Water Act of 1972 established the basic structure for regulating discharges of pollutants into United States waters. It created funding for the construction of sewage treatment plants and recognized the need for pollution prevention strategies.
“While the billions of dollars spent has certainly improved water quality,” Moyer said, “there are still waters that do not meet the goals of the act in that they are not ‘swimmable or fishable.'”