Real-time water quality monitoring

Funding:  JW Sefton Foundation (Mission Trails, Tijuana Estuary), San Diego River Park Foundation (Boulder Creek), United States EPA (Tijuana River)

Impaired water quality threatens human health and ecosystems.  Contamination events, including from sewer system overflows, can be difficult to predict, and yet there are few real-time water quality monitoring stations in the San Diego-Tijuana Border region.  We are developing systems to monitor water quality in real-time using telemetry and advanced water quality monitoring systems. The monitoring system includes standard water quality parameters (pH, conductivity, dissolved oxygen, temperature) but also colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and tryptophan, which correlates with bacteria concentrations in other water bodies (as documented by Natalie Mladenov’s lab here).

Ben Downing installLeft: Ben Downing installing the Manta sonde in the San Diego River at Mission Trails

Members of the Biggs and Mladenov Labs have installed water quality sondes and pressure transducers to measure stream level on Boulder Creek (ended April 2019), San Diego River at Mission Trails (2019-present), and Tijuana Estuary (February 2021).  The systems report the data in real-time via HPWREN. See the Online Data and Summary Story of the Boulder Creek Project.  Our most recent project includes a new sonde in the main stem of the San Diego River to monitor tryptophan, an indicator of bacteria. See the data collected to date at http://sdwaterquality.sdsu.edu/.  Real-time photos of the Tijuana site is here and archived videos here. See also tijuanariver.trnerr.org for more real-time and historical water quality information for the Tijuana Estuary.  Hourly precipitation forecasts at:  San Diego Mission TrailsTijuana River.  National quantitative precip forecast.

Real-time weather maps for San Diego here and radar here.