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Global Water Watch (GWW) made presence again in Peru in August 2009 when Miriam G. Ramos-Escobedo (GWW-Mexico) and Sergio S. Ruiz-Córdova visited that country to conduct water chemistry and bacteriological monitoring workshops for leaders and local citizens from several communities in the Province of Puno. The visit was organized and coordinated by Dr. Heather Williams from Pomona College, sponsored by The Chijnaya Foundation and hosted by Javier Bojorquez and other founders and members of the Non-Governmental Organization (NGO) named Suma Marka.
Community-based water monitoring initiated in Lake Titicaca, Peru in 2009. During this six-day visit, Ramos-Escobedo and Ruiz-Cordova gave a presentation about the GWW Program and explained the intention of expanding the international network of water monitoring groups, what do Peru has to do to be part of it and the steps to follow if they wish to have the support of and become members of GWW. Community-Based Water Monitoring for watershed stewardship workshops were conducted and certified local citizens as Global Water Watch Water Chemistry and Bacteriological monitors. During the workshop, specific examples of GWW citizen Data-to-Action strategies taking place in Mexico and Alabama, U. S. were discussed, as well as how they can be applied for Peru.
Representatives of six local organizations attended the workshops and were able to share concerns about the declining water quality in Lake Titicaca and it causes. The consensus points to water degradation in the lake, caused by organic and inorganic solid waste near the populated areas, faulty waste water treatment plants, mining residuals flowing from other areas, (possible) excessive trout farming and declining in the totora growths due to overharvest and fires. However, as many people are aware of these problems, many are also willing to work and have active participation to address the problems and help to find solutions.
The GWW workshop instruction was conducted in Spanish and using the more current version of the GWW manuals being used in other Spanish speaking countries. All trainees manifested to have enjoyed both the visual aids used while discussing the principles of each water quality variable to be monitored as well as the field work that was conducted at one of the piers on the waters of Lake Titicaca. All the attendants to the CBWM workshop realized that the simple and low cost methods promoted by GWW can provide them with a powerful and valuable tool in the form of the long term sets of credible data that they can collect themselves through systematic monitoring.
Under an initiative called Suma Q’ota, three monitoring groups were formed; according to the living location of the monitors and they all agree to start monitoring about a dozen sites in the vicinity of Puno. Three water chemistry testing kits and over 300 bacteriological tests (Coliscan Easygel), sponsored by The Chijnaya Foundation, were delivered to the new GWW partners. The monitoring equipment and supplies will be in the custody of Suma Marka and monitors will contact them on a monthly basis to pick up the supplies and to deliver the data collected.
Memoranda of Understanding (MOU) between Suma Marka, The Chijnaya Foundation, Pomona College, other Peruvian organizations and any other international organizations with GWW would be a good step to follow in order to develop official agreements between Auburn University and these organizations. More monitoring training and monitoring activity is needed as members of 60 other communities in the Lake Titicaca area have already manifested their willingness to participate.
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