CURA H2O was a five-year project focused on increasing community capacity for integrated water monitoring and management in Canada and internationally.
The project team was composed of an alliance of partners representing community stewardship organizations, environmental NGOs, academia, government agencies, First Nations communities, public schools, and the private sector. CURA H2O was a ‘Community-University Research Alliance’ that was granted funding by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada (SSHRC) in 2011. This project was run out of the Geography Department of Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia and was led by Principal Investigator Dr. Cathy Conrad.
CURA H2O was focused on standardizing data collection at the community level through a water quality monitoring training course (http://wet-pro.ca/) and an accompanying Wet-Pro (TM) toolkit that provided all equipment necessary to conduct methods taught in the course. The CURA built on the work of the Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Network, and addressed the needs expressed by its stewardship partners over the last decade. SSHRC-CURA funding and support from Environment Canada and Nova Scotia Environment have facilitated the wide-scale provision of equipment and training to partners in Canada, West Africa, and Nepal, and have also supported the development of an online geodatabase with an interactive mapping component to house this standardized (and now comparable) data set (http://cbemn.ca/water-quality/).
The CURA H2O project officially wrapped up in September 2016, and the Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Network continues to develop and maintain major CURA H2O legacy pieces such as the training course and database. Partnerships with government agencies and major universities continue to examine how this data can be integrated into governmental water management and provide a more comprehensive set of data than would otherwise be available through government resources alone.