Making a difference

RAIN’s Goal:  to better ensure the protection of public health and drinking water across western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia.

The River Alert Information Network (RAIN) is a regional Source Water Protection (SWP) program for western Pennsylvania and northern West Virginia that continuously monitors water quality on-line, in near real time.

The RAIN network began as 33 water systems and 14 monitoring sites in the fall of 2008. The Allegheny, Shenango, Youghiogheny, and Ohio Rivers received one monito each. The troubled Monongahela River and its tributaries received ten monitors in response to concerns over high levels of total dissolved solids which created problems for industrial users and water suppliers.  In early 2012, grants provided by the Environmental Protection Agency and the West Virginia Department of Health and Human Resources allowed West Virginia to join the Network with ten monitoring sites along the Upper Monongahela.

Funded by Source Water Protection Education Grants from the Water Resources Education Network—and supported by funding for the initiation of a monitoring system from the Department of Environmental Protection—RAIN began to address the challenge of developing and implementing an early warning system to notify members downstream of potential problems while also archiving data for the future.