By Steve Porter
FORT COLLINS – In-Situ, a maker of water level and water quality monitoring instruments, is donating nearly $72,000 worth of products to the Water Innovation Network (WIN) project, which aims to track water quality in the Poudre River watershed.
In-Situ is a member of the Colorado Water Innovation Cluster (CWIC), a group of Northern Colorado water-related entities – businesses, governments, academia and other partners — that aims to serve as a catalyst to grow the region’s water resources and improve water technology through “actionable initiatives and showcase projects,” according to its website, www.co-waterinnovation.com.
WIN is a showcase project that will eventually connect 60 monitoring sites along the Poudre River watershed from Poudre Canyon to the city of Greeley.
The first phase of WIN will include eight locations from the mouth of Poudre Canyon to Greeley and is the portion that the In-Situ donation will first benefit.
“We’re providing a lot of the instruments to measure the water quality of the river,” said Jon Firooz, In-Situ’s vice president of R&D and marketing.
Firooz said the WIN project will allow for water quality data to be collected and analyzed in real-time so researchers at Colorado State University and around the world can immediately access it.
“The goal is to set this up as a pilot project and allow researchers to develop similar systems in their locations,” he said.
A further goal is to optimize nutrient removal from the river and minimize environmental degradation from pollution runoff caused by agricultural and commercial operations.
Firooz said such pollution can lead to the rapid growth of algae that can harm fish species and upset the river’s ecosystem.
Cristina Windsor, In-Situ’s product marketing manager, said the WIN project will also ultimately be able to “identify and possibly mitigate” river pollution caused by wildfires such as the High Park Fire that devastated thousands of acres along the Poudre River Canyon last summer.
Firooz said the project dovetails with its mission to help improve and preserve water supplies.
“In-Situ is focused on creating instruments to help the world monitor and improve its water quality,” he said. “Unlike energy, there’s no alternative to water. With increasing industrialization and global warming, that resource is becoming more and more scarce.”
Firooz said In-Situ benefits from helping WIN in two ways.
“It allows us to demonstrate our products on a global scale, and to continue to innovate for future product development,” he said.