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... In 2000, the European Water Framework Directive was approved with strong guidelines provided for how water quality monitoring was to be undertaken (Timmerman, et al, 2002). Thus, the UNECE monitoring cycle was developed, collaboratively, before a stronger guidance for monitoring was required in Europe. ...
Water quality monitoring, as a subject of interest to both water quality managers and researchers, involves a wide variety of highly integrated activities and functions. In turn, monitoring involves a number of disciplines (e.g. chemistry, biology, statistics, and hydrology). Furthermore, water quality monitoring is conducted by a wide variety of organizations with different missions (e.g. water quality management agencies, wildlife management agencies, natural resource management agencies, water research organizations, and water providers). The U.S. National Water Quality Monitoring Council and the UN/ECE Convention for Protection and Use of Transboundary Waters developed similar graphics to represent the integrated nature of monitoring activities and tasks, referred to, respectively, as a monitoring framework and a monitoring cycle. Both graphics clearly illustrate the diversity of disciplines and knowledge required to design, implement and operate water quality monitoring systems today. The logic and rationale behind each attempt to 'define' water quality monitoring, along with the terminology employed, is explored in the paper. Similarities embedded in the two efforts will be identified and discussed and differences will be examined to see if they can be resolved in a search for a common approach to water quality monitoring. Such an assessment of monitoring concepts and terms is viewed as a key component in achieving consistency and comparability in the data and information produced by water quality monitoring programs.