Alabama Water Watch began in 1992 and has conducted more than 1,000 workshops in nine levels of physical, chemical and biological monitoring for about 4,000 citizen volunteers. Monitors have cumulatively submitted over 40,000 data records from 1,800 sites on 700 waterbodies using EPA-approved protocols. About 80 percent of data records are currently entered by monitors into a customized database via the Internet and all data may be accessed, analyzed, mapped and graphed online by the general public.
There are three ways in which AWW data have been used for watershed management:
1) solving water quality problems at the local level through education, neighbor-to-neighbor persuasion and local ordinances, 2) adding or removing streams from the 303(d) list, developing TMDLs and including the data in the 305(b) report to Congress by the state regulatory agency, and 3) development of watershed management plans on various scales by stakeholder groups. Most AWW monitors do not seem to be deterred by the slow pace of using their data for watershed improvements, and about 80 citizen groups consistently test water because it is “the right thing to do,” personally enriching and enjoyable.