About the Program
The Vancouver Water Monitoring Program, formerly known as the False Creek Water Monitoring Program, is a year-round, citizen-science initiative. Launched in the summer of 2018, the project focuses on testing and making public the recreational water quality data in the heart of Vancouver. The primary purpose of the program is the protection of public health from contaminated water with the goal of providing the public with current, reliable water quality data.
Each week, a team of staff and volunteers records observations about water quality and collects water samples at multiple locations in and around False Creek. The team then interprets results at our in-house IDEXX lab on Granville Island, and immediately shares results through Swim Guide and below on our "Latest Sample Results" page.
Are you interested in joining the dedicated water monitoring team? Learn about our volunteer opportunities here.
Why We Sample
According to the third edition of the Guidelines for Canadian Recreational Water Quality, an estimated 400,000 Canadians get sick every year from swimming in polluted waters. The Vancouver Water Monitoring Program is our response to that. Over 2018, Fraser Riverkeeper focused on sampling well-used recreational hotspots around False Creek where stand-up paddlers can be seen falling into the water, dogs and children wade at the shallows, kayakers are drenched by splashing water, and adventurous individuals plunge in to cool off.
- This program was inspired by the success of the Toronto Harbour Monitoring Program, where Lake Ontario Waterkeeper has been collecting water samples and testing for E. coli since 2016.
- An estimated 400,000 Canadians get sick every year from swimming in polluted waters.
- As Metro Vancouver works toward BC's goal to eliminate sewage overflows by 2050, the city is undergoing a separation of its antiquated combined sewer overflow system.
- In 2016, 3,652,000 m3 of untreated wastewater flowed into False Creek over 495 hours from the Heather Street CSO.
- The 6 CSO points nearest to CRAB Park discharged an estimated 15,726,315 cubic metres of sewage in 2016, and 18,869,229 cubic metres in 2017.
What is Citizen Science?
Citizen Science is “the practice of public participation and collaboration in scientific research to increase scientific knowledge.” When someone becomes a citizen scientist, they not only develop their own scientific expertise but they also contribute to a growing understanding of our world. Citizen scientists participate in monitoring, data collection, and other scientific processes alongside scientists and researches to broaden data and collect more data than would otherwise be possible.
You can become a citizen scientist by volunteering with our Vancouver Water Monitoring Program, reporting pollution concerns, and submitting photos of your favourite beaches to track their condition over time.
As we enter the 2019 season, our goal will continue to be to provide up-to-date recreational water quality data so that citizens can make informed decisions and feel more comfortable knowing when their water is clean for recreating. We aim to promote a healthy relationship with water because when people are connected to their local waterbodies, they are more likely to protect them.
Thank You LUSH!
Thank you to the generous support of LUSH Cosmetics for funding Fraser Riverkeeper’s in-house, microbiological laboratory on Granville Island - making our weekly sampling possible.