Summary: “Andarríos” is a project of citizen science and environmental education set up in 2007 by the local Andalusian government. Its goal is to raise general public awareness about the “New Culture of Water”, a Spanish campaign aimed to change the way people think and value current water use in the country. In practice, the job is to form a volunteer task group whose members will select a section of river approximately 1 kilometer in length and carry out an environmental assessment of water quality and ecological integrity within that segment of river. The non-profit environmental organization AEA El Bosque Animado has participated in the Andarríos project since 2009 and adopted a section of the Guadalquivir River near The Casillas’ Hydroelectric power plant, in the suburbs of Cordoba. A workshop was organized in order to train volunteers in the various survey protocols: measuring water parameters (temperature, water flow, pH, nitrogen concentration, turbidity); biological quality (sample of macroinvertebrates) and qualitative data describing the state of conservation of the riverbank and riparian woodland. The team of volunteers performed 4 sampling days, one in each season, to obtain an appropriate amount of data for the final assessment: Water flow was much lower in early winter than in summer and there was high turbidity associated with poor macroinvertebrate populations. In this transect, riparian woodland stands are strongly degraded. These conclusions were no surprise since the Guadalquivir is a well known river. The results were influenced strongly by its function as a major water transport “canal” for agricultural purposes and well studied, advanced erosion in the catchment area. All this information was transmitted to the program direction, which organized a meeting to present the 2009 results for Andalusia with the participation of more than 100 local groups.
(Irene de Gabriel Ruiz)