ALEXANDRIA, Va. — World Water Day 2014 marked the start of this year’s monitoring period for the World Water Monitoring Challenge (WWMC) — an international outreach program that builds public awareness and involvement in protecting water resources around the world, according to a press release.

From March 22 through Dec. 31, thousands of people worldwide are expected to connect with and monitor their local water bodies through a series of simple, hands-on tests, reported the release.

Coordinated by the Water Environment Federation (WEF) and the International Water Association (IWA), WWMC grew out of the original World Water Monitoring Day program in 2012, continued the release, and while an official day continues to be observed each year on September 18, the broader challenge encourages people everywhere to test the quality of their waterways, share their findings and do their part to help protect this essential resource.

“Everyone who uses water is responsible for it in one way or another. Yet, many of us are unaware of the condition of our local water bodies and the direct and indirect impacts our actions have on the quality of these resources,” said WEF Executive Director Eileen O’Neill. “The WWMC provides a fun and easy way to engage and learn about some of the most common indicators of water health and encourages further participation in more formal citizen monitoring efforts.”

According to the release, WWMC data is entered online and the 2013 results are currently being tabulated for release at a later date.

Read the full release here.