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Waters

International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of the Effects of Air Pollution on Rivers and Lakes

Chair: Mr. Gunnar Skotte
Head of Programme Centre: Ms. Heleen de Wit 

Acidification of freshwater systems provided some of the earliest evidence of the damage caused by sulphur emissions. The sensitivity of these systems suggested that they were ideal for studying the effects of and response to changes in pollution deposition. 

To assess, on a regional basis, the degree and geographical extent of acidification of surface waters, the International Cooperative Programme on Assessment and Monitoring of the Effects of Air Pollution on Rivers and Lakes (ICP Waters) was established in 1985. The data collected provides information on dose-response relationships under different conditions and correlates changes in acidic deposition with the physical, chemical and biological status of lakes and streams.

Monitoring of river and lake sites includes both chemistry and biology. All major chemical constituents are included in the analytical programme and are used for long-term trend analyses of water quality. For about half of the sites, both chemical and biological data have been reported and these sites are used for dose/response evaluations.

Biological data is derived from monitoring of fish populations, invertebrates and algae which have specific tolerance limits related to water chemistry and physical conditions, among others. Data on changes in these populations can thus be important indicators of water quality. Quality control is an important part of the programme. Annual laboratory intercalibration exercises were established in 1987, involving, about 40 laboratories in around 20 countries. Database checks ensure the quality of the data which are being collected and used. 

The Programme is planned and coordinated by a Task Force under the leadership of Norway. Chemical and site data from about 200 catchments in around 20 countries in Europe and North America are available in the database of the Programme Centre at the Norwegian Institute for Water Research (NIVA), Oslo.

Further information is available from the Programme Centre.