Community-Based Water Monitoring in Nova Scotia: Solutions for Sustainable Watershed Management

  •  Sarah Weston    
  •  Cathy Conrad    


Community-based water monitoring (CBWM) has developed significantly over the last decade, both in Nova Scotia and around the world. Concurrently, the literature has thoroughly examined elements of effective CBWM as well as common barriers to its development. Researchers have subsequently recommended ways to increase the capacity of community-based stewardship organizations to ensure that CBWM work is meaningful and is integrated into governmental decision-making and water management.

This paper will review the current state and efficacy of CBWM in Nova Scotia using these recommendations as guidelines. Further, it will examine the role of CURA H2O* in aligning CBWM activities in the Atlantic Region with these guidelines through the implementation of a standardized water quality monitoring training program and an accompanying set of equipment. Additional capacity-building activities led by CURA H2O include participatory research, training workshops, technical support, and the provision of a central database to house data collected through this program. This paper will discuss transferable strengths of this work, and will suggest ways in which developmental barriers can be overcome through adequate financial resources, using an integrated water management model, applying consistent technical standards, maintaining reciprocity with volunteers, and ensuring knowledge and resource-sharing.

*CURA H2O ( is a Community University Research Alliance project funded by the Social Sciences and Humanities Research Council of Canada that is focused on increasing capacity for integrated water monitoring and management in Canada and internationally. It is run by the Community-Based Environmental Monitoring Network at Saint Mary’s University in Halifax, Nova Scotia.

This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
  • ISSN(Print): 1927-0488
  • ISSN(Online): 1927-0496
  • Started: 2011
  • Frequency: quarterly

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