Earthwatch is celebrating its FreshWater Watch programme reaching the 10,000th water quality measurement taken by one of hundreds of citizen scientists around the world.
Citizen scientists are ordinary people tackling one of the greatest challenges of our time. Scientists use the data to understand freshwater issues and impacts, which will improve understanding and inform global water management decisions.
This landmark 10,000th water quality measurement was added to the database today, three-and-a-half years into the FreshWater Watch programme.
FreshWater Watch is an Earthwatch citizen science research project investigating the health of global freshwater ecosystems on a scale never seen before. All FreshWater Watchers carry out three simple tests, for nitrates, phosphates and turbidity (the ‘cloudiness’ of the water).
These are all indicators of different freshwater pollutants which are increasing globally as the human demand for freshwater increases. Poor water quality and reduced biodiversity leaves communities with poor drinking water and environments vulnerable to climate change.
Professor Steven Loiselle, Earthwatch Research Manager, Global Freshwater Research “This is a great milestone for FreshWater Watch. The dedication and enthusiasm of our citizen scientists can be humbling at times and their work will ensure that this project has real impact around the world.”
FreshWater Watch was set up as part of the HSBC Water Programme. This is five year collaboration between HSBC, Earthwatch, WWF and WaterAid. At the completion of the five year partnership, Earthwatch will have trained 7,500 HSBC employees in more than 20 cities around the world.
It’s easy to become a FreshWater Watcher, by simply joining the online community and undertaking the engaging and interactive online training anyone can be ready to test their local pond, river or stream. The FreshWater Watch community blog about their experiences, discuss local issues and can contact Earthwatch scientists directly.
With water issues featuring highly on the Sustainable Development Goals announced at the UN Summit in January, FreshWater Watchers are giving scientists a first-hand insight into waterbodies that they were previously unable to study.