SAN DIEGO — Make it understandable.
That’s the goal of San Diego Coastkeeper’s recently launched online water quality database, complete with water quality scores. Updated monthly with data collected from nine of San Diego’s 11 watersheds, the new data portal provides access to raw data but also displays a water quality index score for each sampling location to help residents understand what’s happening in their local waters.
Since 2000, Coastkeeper has monthly sent teams of trained volunteers to locations throughout San Diego, who gather inland water samples that the organization tests in its lab in Point Loma. Following the highest quality standards possible, Coastkeeper analyzes the samples for basic chemistry, nutrients, bacteria and toxicity. According to Pritchard, this effort supplements data gathered by governmental agencies and helps determine the general health of and possible solutions to improve San Diego’s waters.
Coastkeeper’s new database features a map of San Diego County with color-coded water quality index scores based on the data collected each month.
The score examines how many of the analyzed elements are above regulatory limits, and by how much. The scoring process gets it a mark from 0-100, using a modified version of the official Canadian Water Quality Index. The Canadian Council of Ministers of the Environment established its index and the Global Environmental Monitoring System/United Nations Environment Program adopted it in 2007 for evaluating global water quality.
To visit the new water quality database, volunteer in the program or sponsor Coastkeeper’s work, please visit the organization online at sdcoastkeeper.org.