The Huron-to-Erie Real-time Drinking Water Protection Network collects data on source water quality in real time to promote collaborative water research and community education, and as a tool to aid emergency response in the event of spills or other environmental issues.

Wayne State University’s Healthy Urban Waters  is the creator and manager of the network’s online data platform. Michigan’s Office of the Great Lakes and the Southeast Michigan Council of Governments partner with Healthy Urban Waters to advance outreach efforts to municipal water suppliers and provide technical assistance with monitoring equipment. In addition to providing real-time data, the network also functions as an online repository of current and historical data from fourteen monitoring locations as well as additional inputs from beach monitoring sites and other point sampling data collected within the Huron to Erie corridor. 

The 80-mile Lake Huron to Lake Erie international corridor is a major global shipping route with several heavy manufacturing sites and a concentrated network of petrochemical plants along its shores. It includes the St. Clair River, Lake St. Clair, and the Detroit River. Fourteen drinking water treatment plants rely on surface intakes and provide service for over 4 million people living along this same corridor. The need to better understand and continue to mitigate several ongoing threats to source water is identified as the primary driver for this monitoring network: “Accidental spills, emergency diversions, and nutrient-triggered algal blooms are a matter of historical record and are expected to continue, even at a reduced rate, into the future.”

Maintaining a network of real-time monitoring stations drives progress toward the Source Water Initiative’s first goal of protecting sources of drinking water from nutrient impacts, as well as the third goal of ensuring that systems for spill prevention and response are accessible and in use by diverse stakeholders.