Protecting the quality of Arizona’s water supplies: Yep, they got an app for that

Protecting the quality of Arizona’s water supplies: Yep, they got an app for that
November 30, 2017

The science of analyzing the quality of Arizona’s water supplies just got as easy as calling for a taxi or rideshare.

You just access an app.

The Arizona Department of Environmental Quality just announced the release of its “Arizona Water Watch,” a mobile-phone app that allows “citizen scientists” to provide data about the condition of Arizona’s surface water to the department’s water-quality scientists.

“Arizona is full of dedicated outdoor enthusiasts and we’re excited that ADEQ now enables them to contribute observations that aid in the protection of our streams and lakes,” said Meghan Smart, ADEQ Water Quality Scientist.

“With volunteers and state employees working together, we can increase the data collected, cover more of Arizona and expand volunteer opportunities within the new Arizona Water Watch program, it’s a win-win!” she said.

Presented in a simple, easy-to-use format, the Arizona Water Watch Mobile App allows users to record basic information about a nearby stream or river (including dry ones) and submit that data to ADEQ.

Department scientists will use the data – including the photos that “citizen scientists” provide – to analyze water-quality issues such as stream flow and the amount of apparent animal use of the water supply.

It also allows the user to record the presence of trash and algae blooms. The app user can alert ADEQ about the presence in the area of potential pollutants and whether or not dead fish are present.

The app also allows users to record data of value to the Arizona Department of Water Resources, too.

As the State agency whose mission is to safeguard the quantity and availability of Arizona’s water supplies, ADWR researchers are keenly interested in the app feature that allows a user to log whether rain had fallen in the area within the last 48 hours.

It allows users to contact ADEQ in a variety of ways, including leaving brief comments on the app site, by visiting the department web site or contacting ADEQ by email. The site even includes an old-fashioned communications method: a telephone number.

The Arizona Water Watch mobile app is designed to take advantage of the passion that Arizonans feel for the out-of-doors. It makes use of the powerful, cloud-based ArcGIS online mapping platform to get a precise read on the location being analyzed.

Its designers recognized that quite often those wilderness hikers and bikers will be out of cellphone range.

The app accounts for that. It allows users to collect data as a draft, which they may send once they regain a signal.

Overall, the submissions through the app are used by ADEQ scientists to update flow patterns in streams and washes, address water quality issues across the state and identify waterbodies for future studies.