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This World Water Day, get involved to keep our waters blue

March 22 2012 | Water, Blue Water Task Force, Water Quality,

Take a minute today and think about the importance of clean water…we enjoy it in so many ways, from surfing, to family summer vacations, to taking a quick dip on a hot summer day. 

Sadly this could all be in jeopardy come 2013 if funding for the Beach Grant Program is eliminated leaving us not knowing when or where it is safe to surf or swim. 

The threat of no federal funding for beach water testing is scary, but our chapter networks have taken it upon themselves to test local beaches and waterways and report their findings through our Blue Water Task Force.

We are excited that Emergen-C Blue is partnering with us to raise awareness around the need to keep our waters clean. Emergen-C Blue is committed to supporting, enhancing, and extending the efforts of the Blue Water Task Force by donating 20 cents for every Emergen-C Blue box sold to further the important work being done to improve water quality.

Chapter water testing programs currently help fill the gaps in agency testing, but with the possibility of federal dollars for beach monitoring being cut, they may be the only source of beach water quality information in some areas.

Our Blue Water Task Force, presented by Emergen-C Blue, is close to coming full circle.  By this I mean we are going back to essentially where we started…volunteer-based water quality testing to alert the public of beach water quality conditions and work toward solutions for improvement.  The program originally started because surfers kept reporting illnesses after surfing in polluted waters.  Like all of our activists in the network, they wanted to take action. 

The Blue Water Task Force provides a vehicle for just that…it precipitated the establishment of state and local government water quality monitoring programs in many communities and continues to this day improving public knowledge of the safety of beach water.

Our partnership with Emergen-C Blue helps take this a step further by helping to scale our volunteers’ work. They can collect water samples at their local beaches and have a central repository on the newly designed website to share data, and alert the public about potentially unhealthy places to swim.

Today to mark World Water Day, we are issuing our first Blue Water Task Force Annual Report, in partnership with Emergen-C Blue, which summarizes the results from the 1,924 tests reported by 20 different testing labs in 2011.  The Report also presents case studies that demonstrate how our chapters are using their water testing programs to build community awareness and address their water pollution issues.

You can check out the entire report here.  If you’re inspired after reading this report, find a task force in your community here and volunteer the next time they collect samples.

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