Waterwatch data quality: an opportunity to augment professionally collected data sets

Fiona DYER, Evan HARRISON, Bernd GRUBER, Sue NICHOLS, Woo O'Reilly

Research output: A Conference proceeding or a Chapter in BookConference contributionpeer-review


Community based monitoring of water quality and aquatic ecosystems, such as Waterwatch in Australia, forms an important portion of the community monitoring efforts worldwide, however, such data are rarely accessible or used in decision making. Waterwatch data have traditionally been criticised as being of inferior quality compared with professionally collected data and as such have seen limited use and incorporation into government data sets. Water quality data collected from 2003 onwards by Waterwatch volunteers in the Australian Capital Territory region were compared with equivalent data collected by government agencies, consulting firms and academic institutions (professionally collected data). The water quality variables compared were electrical conductivity, pH, turbidity and dissolved oxygen. Excellent agreement between Waterwatch and professionally collected data sets were observed for electrical conductivity and pH indicating that the quality of these data are indistinguishable from professionally collected data. Good agreement was observed between the Waterwatch and professionally collected turbidity and dissolved oxygen data particularly given differences in methods used to collect the data and differences in sampling times. The quality of the data collected by the community based volunteers provides an opportunity to incorporate Waterwatch programs into jurisdictional wide monitoring strategies with confidence and allows augmentation of existing monitoring effort to enhance water quality management outcomes.
Original languageEnglish
Title of host publication7th Australian Stream Management Conference
EditorsG Vietz, I.D Rutherfurd, R Hughes
Place of PublicationAustralia
PublisherThe River Basin Management Society
Number of pages6
Publication statusPublished - 2014
Event7th Australian Stream Management Conference - Townsville, Townsville, Australia
Duration: 1 Jul 2014 → …
http://www.7asm.org.au/ (conference website)


Conference7th Australian Stream Management Conference
Period1/07/14 → …
Internet address


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