Water quality and wastewater monitoring are fundamental tools in the management of freshwater resources and they provide essential information characterizing the physical, chemical and/or biological status of water resources, determining trends and changes over time, and identifying emerging water quality issues. They also provide the means to identify policies and measures to enhance water quality and wastewater, reduce and control water pollution from specific sources, evaluate the efficacy of pollution control and regulation policies and their implementation and deal with water quality emergencies. Therefore, it is important that water quality issues need to be understood in the framework of hydrological processes based on the water quality and hydrological monitoring.
Improved water quality and wastewater monitoring will be essential in evaluating progress towards the achievement of SDG targets on water quality and wastewater.
Water quality and wastewater monitoring are poorly implemented in developing countries due to a lack of appropriate instruments, financial resources, and technical capacities. They are mainly based on ineffective traditional approaches and are jeopardized by a lack of scientific knowledge and technical skills. As a result, water quality and wastewater data are scarce, unreliable and unsystematic. Water quality monitoring is also becoming a complex issue due to new water quality challenges.
Consequently, water quality monitoring needs an urgent attention both in developed and developing countries. Both sharing scientific knowledge and advanced technologies and building human and scientific/technical capacities are required factors to improve water quality monitoring in order to effectively deal with the complexity of monitoring a large number of parameters, including new and emerging pollutants. New and advanced water quality monitoring techniques using innovative technologies will produce reliable, accurate, continuous and systematic data on the quality of water resources, which are necessary for a sound decision-making and the design, plan and implementation of effective pollution control measures. In addition, water quality monitoring needs to make an effort in raising awareness since every citizen can be part of the improvement of environmental conditions, water quality management and decisions.
UNESCO International Scientific Symposium on Scientific, Technological and Policy Innovations for Improved Water Quality Monitoring in the SDGs Framework (Kyoto, 2015).
Convened under the UNESCO-IHP International Initiative on Water Quality (IIWQ), the symposium contributes to enhancing capacities of Member States to improve water quality monitoring at the national and global levels in order to support the monitoring and evaluation of the water-related SDG targets. More than 40 water quality scientists and policy-makers from 24 countries, as well as over 80 participants, attended the event, and a large number of online attendees. All contributions and outcomes are available through the Kyoto University OpenCourseWare platform.