Environmentalists have a new tool to help monitor water quality throughout California.

The California Water Resources Control Board has teamed up with IBM to create a new iPhone app that allows the everyday citizen to snap a picture of a body of water and report how much water and trash they see. The information is sent to the control board’s Clean Water Team, which uploads it into a database accessible online.

The Creak Water application asks users three questions:

1) The amount of water: empty, some, or full.

2) The rate of flow: still, moving slowly, or moving fast.

3) The amount of trash: none, some (a few pieces), or a

lot (10 or more pieces).

The data will eventually be used by the water board as part of its overall water quality monitoring program

“For the past several years, the water board has been making data easier to access with online sources such as GeoTracker and the My Water Quality website,” said State Water Board Chair Charlie Hoppin. “The app takes this effort one step farther. Now we are making the data gathering process more accessible as well. There are many Californians who want to help measure the improvement in our state’s water quality and identify places where further improvements are needed.”

An IBM spokesperson says the company hopes volunteer and community groups will use the application to provide a fuller picture of California’s water quality.

The State Water Resources Control Board’s mission is to preserve, enhance and restore the quality of California’s water resources, and ensure their proper allocation and efficient use for the benefit of present and future generations.

The Creek Watch application can be downloaded at: http://itunes.apple.com/us/app/creek-watch

The results can be seen at www.creekwatch.org.

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