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Oklahoma Water Watch
Oklahoma Water Watch (OWW), created in 1992, is a volunteer water monitoring and educational program that encourages local efforts to protect and maintain the quality of rivers and lakes throughout Oklahoma.
As with all state agencies, the OWRB is experiencing significant budgets cuts. Because of this, the OWW Program has been discontinued until a long term source of funding can be identified. OWW staff have been temporarily reassigned to support legislatively mandated projects.
If you are visiting our site for the first time in hopes of participating in state volunteer monitoring, you can still participate! For example, you can join the Oklahoma Conservation Commission's Blue Thumb Program, which is similar to OWW although volunteer efforts are concentrated primarily on streams and wetlands, instead of lakes and reservoirs.
The OWW staff wants to thank the many volunteers who have been so faithful in supporting state monitoring efforts. We appreciate your sacrifices and dedication. It is our hope to reinstate the program when the budget allows; we will keep you informed of the program's status through this website.
Lynda Williamson, OWW Program Coordinator
Coordinated by the Water Resources Board, Oklahoma Water Watch serves as a valuable educational tool, providing participants with first-hand involvement in the protection of community water quality. Since the program's initiation, OWW has had more than 500 certified volunteers, including 12 teachers (from three universities and nine public schools) who oversee hundreds of student volunteers. There are currently 13 OWW chapters throughout the state and more than 80 citizen volunteers who submit data for approximately 80 sites each year with an average annual total of roughly 400 reported monitoring events. OWW volunteers come from all age groups. In addition to students, volunteers include individuals who want to maintain the quality of their local water resources, such as members of lake associations and other civic groups.
Limited resources, quality assurance, and data management make it essential for monitors to serve as long as possible, so the OWW requires a minimum commitment of two years. If you are interested in becoming a volunteer monitor, send your name, mailing address, and daytime telephone number to the following address: Oklahoma Water Watch, Attn: OWW Training Coordinator, 3800 N. Classen Blvd., Oklahoma City, OK 73118.
Prior to becoming Certified Water Quality Monitors, OWW volunteers complete a three-phase training session. The first level of training introduces the concepts of water and air temperature, water color, water transparency, pH, dissolved oxygen, and nutrients, as well as procedures for handling equipment, measuring parameters, and data recording. The next level involves water quality testing. The final phase occurs in a sampling area, where participants take field measurements and record scientific observations.
Once OWW volunteers have chosen an OWRB-approved monitoring site, they are asked to collect data a minimum of nine times each year, preferably monthly from January through December. All the necessary chemicals and testing equipment are provided by the OWRB in a convenient testing kit. At the conclusion of each sampling season, OWRB staff analyze the collected data and distribute a summary report to the volunteers. OWW follows a Quality Assurance Project Plan approved by the EPA, which outlines data collection techniques, frequency, and the quality assurance/quality control measures volunteer monitors use. OWW data provide supplemental information to the OWRB’s professionally collected data, and are included in the yearly Beneficial Use Monitoring Program (BUMP) report. Consistent, quality, long-term data can provide an important historical perspective and aid in identifying trends in a water body. All OWW information is included in periodic reports to the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA).
Volunteers are required to attend at least one Quality Control Assessment (QCA) session per year to retain their certification as OWW monitors. QCA sessions take place twice each sampling year under the supervision of the QCA officer. Successful completion of QCA sessions validate volunteer-collected data by accounting for accuracy, precision, and usability of all data.
©1998-2013, Oklahoma Water Resources Board
Page last updated: January 23, 2013