Swim Guide is developing a standard for exchanging recreational water quality data and we need your help.
We need your help to refine the standard for the automated exchange of recreational water quality data.
Visit our open data standard project website : recreationalwater.ca
We encourage you to contribute to the standard draft on Github: https://github.com/swimdrinkfish/opendata/
The purpose of recreational water quality monitoring is to protect public health from contaminated water. Even where water is tested, however, it can be very difficult for the public to get an answer to the question “is it safe to swim?”
Hundreds of counties, municipalities, park organizations and nonprofits regularly test water for indicator bacteria, algae, and/or other harmful pollutants. The data should be shared quickly (within 24 hours) and with as wide an audience as possible in order to help people avoid waterborne illnesses; yet, this rarely happens.
The public faces four common barriers when they try to understand the health of their beach or swimming hole:
Lack of water quality information means that people – often unknowingly – swim in contaminated waters. Studies from the Environmental Protection Agency estimate the between 3%-8% of people experience acute gastrointestinal illness (AGI) after swimming. An estimated 3.5 million Americans get sick each year. In Canada, the number is approximately 400,000. Children are the most likely to get sick.
The main reason water quality is not shared more widely is because there is no standardized way to present data.
Since 2011, Swim Guide has spent thousand of hours each manually compiling water quality information from websites (some using legacy technologies), phone hotlines, and spreadsheets so that 1.5 million people can access beach water information. Meanwhile, regulators in different countries struggle to consolidate water quality results from different communities to inform policy and funding decisions.
That’s why we decided to develop an open data exchange standard for recreational water quality information.
An open data standard will increase data exchange, improve public awareness of water quality, and aid researchers trying to protect recreational waters. The initiative will reduce the number of people getting sick from contact with polluted water and increase the number of environmental protection plans for communities affected by pollution.
Swim Guide shares the best information we have at the moment you ask for it. Always obey signs at the beach or advisories from official government agencies. Stay alert and check for other swimming hazards such as dangerous currents and tides. Please report your pollution concerns so Affiliates can help keep other beach-goers safe. Swim Guide, "Swim Drink Fish icons," and associated trademarks are owned by Lake Ontario Waterkeeper.| See Legal.
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