Get Involved

Learn about your water system


Share your activity results


Meet our partner groups


No matter where you live, learning about your water system and the issues it faces is essential. Follow this guide to get to know your water and share your results.

We've designed these activities to facilitate your understanding of the source of your water, the path it takes to reach your home, and how water sustains and connects communities. The Source-Path-People activities are part of a living project of citizen science and citizen humanities in which you learn about water quality and its social impacts.

These questions are designed to help you understand your water supply and your relationship to water. You can certainly undertake them on your own, but we recommend gathering a few friends or family members and researching the answers together.

If you come upon a question that’s difficult to answer, then feel free to choose the I don’t know option. Some of the questions, like mapping the path of pipes from your water source to home, may take some investigation. In learning about our water pipes, we've stopped to talk with workers when a road is being repaved and the pipes are exposed. Often we learn the most just by observing and talking with the people around us.

The information you share will be analyzed along with responses from others to develop new insights into our water systems' health. We'll visualize the data in a variety of ways, using anonymized information. We respect your privacy and value your trust.

Thanks, and good luck!

Share Your Results

After researching answers to the questions in the activity guide above, enter your results here.

Freshwater Stories is created and produced by the Freshwater Lab, based at the University of Illinois at Chicago. The Freshwater Lab is an initiative to communicate Great Lakes water issues to the general public, create tools to visualize the current state and future scenarios of water sources, engage unaffiliated groups in water planning, and train a new generation of Great Lakes leaders. As we focus on the Great Lakes basin, we also reach outward to build relationships with water stewards from other parts of the world.
Together with our authors, partners, and Freshwater Lab team, the site was created by Sharif Ezzat, Rachel Havrelock, and Kathleen Blackburn. Support from the Charles Stewart Mott Foundation brought Freshwater Stories into being. We are deeply grateful to the communities around Lake Michigan who helped us shape the project through a series of workshops in the summer and fall of 2017.
Thank you for visiting!