Andrea Dautant, Discover magazine, looks at a citizen science project called Off the Roof which tested rainwater runoff collected by volunteers. They found that rainwater can be easily treated, but does often have contaminants similar to what’s found in streams and rivers. October 2020.
Ref: Citizens Science Salon
Life on Earth needs water to survive. Yet, drinkable water is a rapidly dwindling resource. Out of all the water on our planet, only 2.5 percent is freshwater. And of that 2.5 percent, just 0.3 percent is readily accessible as surface water. According to FreshWaterWatch, by the year 2050, half of the world’s population will be living in regions impacted by water scarcity, meaning there won’t be enough water to sustain a growing population.
That’s why a citizen science project called Off the Roof started researching how roof rainwater run-off can be used as an alternative water source.
What is Off the Roof?
The Off the Roof project was hosted by CitSci.org, an online platform for citizen science, and it aimed to fill gaps in the data surrounding alternative water resources by better understanding the quality of roof run-off. This project was spread across four cities in the United States: Fort Collins, Colorado; Tucson, Arizona; Baltimore, Maryland; and Miami, Florida.
In each city, participants collected barrels of water, which were then analyzed by the Off the Roof team. The team assessed the microbial quality of the water, focusing on the number of pathogens found that are infectious to humans.