Water quality testing is an important part of environmental monitoring. When water quality is poor, it affects not only aquatic life, but the surrounding ecosystem of which humans are a vital part. The water quality of freshwater sources has considerable importance given their multiple uses, that include agriculture – irrigation, recreation and residential water supplies – drinking. Water quality monitoring helps researchers to learn from natural processes in the environment and determine human impacts on an ecosystem. These measurement efforts can also ensure environmental standards are being met and assist in designing restoration projects.

Water quality testing is particularly important especially since it indicates whether a body of water is suited for its designated purpose. Unfortunately, very few persons in Guyana are trained in the testing of water. Consequently, the local agencies with responsibility for water testing have acknowledged that they are understaffed. This has resulted in areas such as BV, LBI, Lusignan, Eccles, Plaisance and many more are unable to benefit from regular water testing activities. PFG provided a knowledge building opportunity for 10 members from the Geographical Society. From training by PFG’s Environmental Officer from the 6th – 12th April 2019 on the use of the LaMotte water monitoring kit in schools. Policy Forum Guyana also ensured that these members attended a “Sandwatch workshop” held by NCERD from 8th – 10th May 2019. At the workshop, an activity-oriented approach was used to provide participants with a step by step instructions to cover monitoring methods and data analysis, including human activities, plants, animals and much more. They were also able to deepen their understanding of the water monitoring kit since the majority of the training was focused on water quality and the use of the LaMotte water monitoring kit. 

With this knowledge, the 10 Geographical Society members expanded their operational space from within the confines of the university to work along with PFG to provide 7 schools with a simplified version of the LaMotte water monitoring kit. These schools located in BV, Eccles, Plaisance, LBI, Montrose, Lusignan and Peter’s Halls, all along the east coast and bank of region 4. Furthermore, five (5) grade 6 students and 1 teacher from every school were taught by the 10 youths on how to assess water quality of 5 freshwater sources within their respective communities. This was done over a three-week period (11th – 29th June 2019) by using the water testing kit to collect samples and perform simple chemical tests which included pH, turbidity, coliform bacteria, dissolved oxygen and temperature. the quality of water and so be able to say whether a body of water is fit for its intended use. Additionally, students gained a better understanding of how their activities may impact water quality and as a consequence, the life of aquatic organisms and in turn their own health.