Alberta Water Quality Awareness
Alberta Water Quality Awareness (AWQA) is a province-wide program focused on increasing people’s awareness and understanding of water quality and watershed health, through hands-on water quality testing.
AWQA participants use water quality test kits to get outside and explore the health of their local waterways. Using their test kits, participants gather basic information about the health of Alberta's surface waterbodies and then contribute what they find to our online database and watershed map.
Why is water monitoring important?
Increasing demands placed on waterbodies in our province together with the threat of pollution and environmental damage has made water management increasingly important. The first step to effective management is improved knowledge and awareness.
By participating in this province-wide community monitoring event, Albertans are:
- Gaining an understanding of the health of their local waters
- Working together to create a province-wide snapshot of basic water quality
- Helping to build an ethic of stewardship and water protection
- Becoming involved in their watersheds at a local level
- Getting outside and having fun while exploring the health of our watersheds
When is AWQA day?
Alberta Water Quality Awareness Day is June 5; however, water quality testing can be done anytime between May 1st and September 31st. June 5 coincides with Environment Week and also World Environment Day.
Water Quality Test Kits
The free AWQA Day test kits provide the materials to test four basic measures of water quality:
- dissolved oxygen
These water quality characteristics may have important implications for fish and wildlife habitat, outdoor recreation and human health. The test kits can be used to test any stream, lake, river, wetland, dugout, pond, slough or other surface waterbody in Alberta.
AWQA Day participants submit the water quality information they collect to a watershed map and online database to share with others. Together, everyone that participates in AWQA Day is illustrating a common interest among many Albertans to be involved in their watersheds, while creating a province-wide snapshot of water quality.
AWQA is modeled after the highly successful World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC), a program created and coordinated by America's Clean Water Foundation. WWMC began in 2002 as part of an effort to connect people personally with efforts to protect and preserve their local watersheds. In addition, WWMC provides a means of building information on the health of water resources over time.
AWQA follows the same format as WWMC and capitalizes on the existing knowledge and interest of many Albertans to help introduce water monitoring to others who have an interest in learning more about their local watershed.
2005 was a pilot year for AWQA Day, and continued annually until 2009. Due to funding limitations, free AWQA kits and events will be offered on a 3 year schedule. The next year for free kits will be 2015.
We encourage everyone to get involved, take a personal stake in water management and to get outside and have fun!