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#382 H2NOW Chicago: Real-time Water Quality Monitoring in a Major Urban Waterway



H2NOW Chicago (H2NOW) is the first real-time water quality monitoring project in the U.S. to measure microbial pollutants in a major urban waterway, and publicly communicate that data in an easily understandable format. Led by Current, Chicago’s water innovation hub, H2NOW is a partnership with more than 20 other university, corporate, community, and civic organizations. H2NOW aims to support the health and productivity of the Chicago River by making water quality data readily available to the public, and improve public understanding of fluctuating water quality and the factors that influence it. Improving the transparency and availability of water quality data is an important first step; the ultimate goal is translating this knowledge to smarter choices about engaging with the River, and driving more effective advocacy and policy to improve it. Over time, the H2NOW digital platform and related activities should improve equitable access to the Chicago River and support economic development along the riverfront.

In Phase I of the pilot project (2019), Current identified and assembled multiple technologies needed to carry out the project, installed optical sensors in the River, calibrated them to measure fecal coliform pollution levels, and worked with its partners to build awareness about the project’s goals, as well as support volunteer survey and sampling efforts. In Phase II (2020), Current and its partners are preparing to launch an online data visualization tool that will access the real-time water quality data being collected, and display it on the project’s public platform. Current is also planning a series of complementary educational events, in partnership with Great Rivers Chicago grantees and community organizations, to present real-time water quality data and support its public interpretation. Future plans include documenting and disseminating the project among a network of cities with urban waterways to work towards a national network of smart rivers and lakes, while simultaneously growing the scope of water quality parameters that are measured and displayed.


RSVP required Braintree now requires all attendees to RSVP beforehand by 12:00 PM (noon). Walk-ins will not be allowed!

ASL This event will not have an American Sign Language interpreter.

Food Food and drinks will be provided. We encourage attendees to bring their own water bottles to reduce waste.


Agenda and meeting notes
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