The Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA) have announced a re-launch of the popular World Water Monitoring Day public education and outreach program. Now called World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC), the new name, look and updated website helps encourage year-round involvement in the international program that recorded more than 300,000 participants worldwide in 2011.

“WEF and IWA have known for some time that many of our participants monitor their water resources year-round, and need the flexibility to choose a date, or dates, that work best for them. We extended the monitoring window for World Water Monitoring Day in 2008, but there was still confusion about when we wanted people to monitor,” says WEF executive director Jeff Eger. “The simple answer is we want everyone to get out to their waterways and learn about them whenever they can. The name change helps us make that point more clearly.”

Expanding the timeframe for monitoring from March 22 until the end of the year has boosted program participation considerably. In 2011, nearly 340,000 people monitored their waterways in 77 countries. Five years ago, this number was closer to 30,000.

In addition to clarifying the intent of the program, WEF and IWA hope that the new moniker will serve as a motivational message that encourages people everywhere to test the quality of their waterways, share their findings, and protect our most precious resource. Program staff and a brand new website with a suite of free materials stand ready to assist.

“We continue to be amazed by the number of people around the world who have embraced this program and made it a part of their ongoing environmental stewardship efforts. We look forward to further enabling those efforts and generating even greater momentum under our new WWMC banner,” says IWA executive director Paul Reiter.

Coordinated by WEF and IWA, WWMC is an international education and outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world. The annual program connects citizens with their local water bodies through a series of simple, hands-on monitoring tests. The program receives financial and in-kind support from the primary sponsors, including the U.S. Geological Survey, the U.S. Environmental Protection Agency, Xylem Inc. and Smithfield Foods.

For more details about WWMC and how to participate in 2012, please visit www.MonitorWater.org.