Drinking Water and Human Health
Volunteer Monitoring in Underserved Communities: Exploring Opportunities & Programs for Enhanced Watershed Management
Many states have been focusing on training volunteers to assume a role in their states’ water quality monitoring efforts to expand data collection and resource assessment. Volunteer water monitors help build community awareness of local pollution problems and often have first-hand knowledge as to where critical sites are located. Volunteers also can become advocates for their watersheds, and alert others to problems that need to be addressed. However, many underserved communities, such as tribal groups or low-income economically-challenged areas, are often excluded from these efforts for a variety of reasons. These include a lack of awareness on the part of volunteer monitoring program coordinators about potential volunteers within these communities, not having funds available for taking part in the activities, or the lack of leadership in the community. In many cases these audiences lack permanent trained staff needed to monitor environmental conditions and report problems to state and federal agencies. Knowledgeable volunteers are critical in these situations. Training community volunteers and teachers, providing them with equipment to conduct monitoring, and linking them with other underserved communities that may share some similar conditions will provide a catalyst for participants. In this project, we partnered with educators and program leaders who worked in or with underserved or rural communities to identify and train underserved audiences in Appalachian Ohio and inner city and tribal group teachers/leaders in Wisconsin and Michigan. Through on-site workshops as well as a series of webinars, participants in the three states (OH, WI, and MI) were able to learn new water monitoring techniques, become more aware about the challenges of volunteer programs in rural and underserved communities, and share their successes and challenges in their volunteer monitoring efforts. Read more...
Indiana's “Safe Water for the Future” website features Drinking Water FAQs and compilations of often-requested information on public water supplies. Visit the site at http://www.ecn.purdue.edu/SafeWater/ Groundwater Education, Research, and Technical Assistance
The UW-Stevens Point and UW-Extension Groundwater Center, which is affiliated with the Center for Watershed Science and Education, helps citizens and governments manage Wisconsin's groundwater wisely, through education, public information, applied research, and technical assistance. Please visit the Groundwater Center at http://www.uwsp.edu/CNR/gndwater/