SmartPhones4Water September 2018 Update!

SmartPhones4Water (S4W) leverages the power of citizen science, mobile technology, and young researchers to improve lives by strengthening our understanding and management of water. This year we've been busy expanding our first pilot project in the Kathmandu Valley of Nepal (S4W-Nepal). Keep reading to find out what we've been up to and how you can be a part of it! We appreciate your interest and support! :)

Check out a Youtube video about our work in Nepal at the link above!

SO Much Stuff!

First off, we'd like to apologize for missing our last few quarterly newsletters in March and June of this year. We're pretty sure you didn't even notice (though hopefully some of you did!), but we feel bad about it and wanted to say sorry. Whew... Ok, feels good to get that off our chest. Moving on, we've got a lot to cover. Here's the complete list: 
  1. New Office Location! We moved into a new office in Thasikhel in the spring! Find out more about it here, and please stop by and visit if you're ever nearby.
  2. We are very proud to have had some of our work published in the journal Environmental Monitoring and Assessment. The study investigated links between water and land use in the Kathmandu Valley; you can read the whole thing here.  We also recently published a discussion paper about our CS Flow campaign (see point 4 below for details) in the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences journal of the European Geosciences Union.  All feedback is welcome! 
  3. Count the drops before it stops! We are currently in the middle of our 2018 monsoon precipitation data collection expedition! This year we have nearly 100 precipitation measurement locations scattered around the Kathmandu Valley, Pokhara, Hetauda, and Dharan.  Since May 1st, we have collected over 5000 precipitation measurements; this is a substantial increase over our effort from last year. S4W-Nepal has been getting some press coverage in onlinekhabar and myRepublica because of our ability to quickly provide high spatial resolution precipitation data to the public about recent flooding events.  We are thankful for our S4W-Nepal staff and our wonderful team of citizen scientists for all of their hard work on this effort!
  4. Before the 2018 monsoon, we launched our Citizen Science Flow (CS Flow) campaign focusing on collecting flow measurement data in streams and rivers around the Kathmandu Valley.  The goal was to characterize pre-monsoon flow conditions (you can see the locations we measured discharge in the Kathmandu Valley shown as red circles on the map below). You can read more about this effort here, and we are planning to follow up with a similar post-monsoon effort to better understand the effects of the monsoon on surface water flows. We plan to continue this pre- and post-monsoon flow measurement campaign in coming years as well to better understand variability over time. 
  5. Another interview with one of citizen scientists named Laxmi Bastola has been published, you can find it here.
  6. S4W-Nepal is excited to be participating in the third annual Mountains in a Changing World (MoChWo) conference this coming October by hosting a Symposium in partnership with the Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences. You can read more about this in the 3rd Annual MoChWo Conference section below!
  7. This is a bit older (last fall), but we made a video about our mission as an organization and our project in Nepal! There is a link to it above, and you can find it on Youtube here. Multiple viewings are encouraged :)
  8. If you keep scrolling, near the bottom of the newsletter we've got a list of all the stories about our work and the people involved that are available online. We look forward to seeing the list grow as we continue our work.
  9. Finally, at the bottom, we've got information on how you can be involved in our work through donating old SmartPhones, donating money, or supporting us on social media! You guys are the best :)

3rd Annual MoChWo Conference!

S4W-Nepal is excited to partner with the Kathmandu Institute of Applied Sciences to host the second annual Symposium on Citizen Science for a Sustainable Mountain Future.  The symposium is part of the third annual Mountains in a Changing World (MoChWo) conference in Kathmandu on the 9th and 10th of October.  The vision for the symposium is to form a collaboration space for everyone interested in citizen science and participatory research in all disciplines associated with mountain ecosystems, including disasters; biodiversity; climate change; pollution; forest management; soil, air, and water research; agriculture; livelihoods; and mountain resource policy.  Two additional core topics of the session will be: (1) how to properly motivate citizen scientists to start and continue their involvement in citizen science projects and (2) how to use mobile technology, and/or low cost sensors, as a catalyst for implementing citizen science projects.  We are also interested in linking this national level discussion to a broader Asia regional (and Global) discussion on how citizen science can be leveraged to support the UN’s 2030 Sustainable Development Goals.  Mr. Mendel Wong, the founder of CitizenScience.Asia, will help facilitate this discussion.  We look forward to hopefully seeing you there!

S4W-Nepal Stories!

In case this newsletter only whet your appetite regarding Nepal, citizen science, mobile technology, and the nexus of Research, Education, and Employment, have no fear, here are some other stories about our work. Every so often, we'll publish either an interview with a citizen scientist or science story about what we're doing. Check them out below! :)

Citizen Scientist Interviews

Ways YOU Can Get Involved!

If you'd like to participate or invest in what we're doing in a small (or large) way, we are always looking for both old SmartPhone donations or monetary donations. With either type of donation, 100% of your donation will go directly to on-the-ground work in Nepal! You can find out more information about these opportunities below.

Cell Phone Donations
Do you have an old SmartPhone sitting on a shelf or in a drawer somewhere collecting dust? Well, we can use it! Immediately!  Many people living in the rural outskirts of the Kathmandu Valley are interested in becoming citizen scientists, but don't have a compatible GSM Android phone with working camera and GPS to perform the necessary measurements. Your old SmartPhone can make a difference by providing an educational or employment opportunity for a citizen scientist and by generating critical water data in the Kathmandu Valley!

Each citizen scientist records their data observations using a SmartPhone app developed using the ODK platform (read more about this here). As our team of citizen scientists continues to expand, we are looking for phone donations that can be used by our team to collect this important data. All phones that are able to be used in Nepal will be given to citizen scientists to record data observations; all other phones will be recycled and 100% of the funds generated will go towards continuing work in Nepal.

Phone donations from the USA or internationally can be shipped to the following address:

3881 Benatar Way, Suite G
Chico, CA 95928

Monetary Donations
If you don't have an old cell phone, not to worry, you probably have some money and we're willing to take that too :)

We have a donation account set up through CrowdRise that you can find here. Apart from the percentage of every donation that CrowdRise takes for their operations, 100% of your donation will go directly to on-the-ground work in Nepal (i.e. S4W-Nepal salaries and expenses). No money will be used for western (i.e. USA) overhead, including salaries or expenses. If you'd like to donate more than $100, please email us ( to find out how to donate directly to SmartPhones4Water.

Social Media
We are always on the lookout for support on social media! We have Facebook and Twitter accounts and would love to have your support through clicks, likes, thumbs up, high-fives, retweets, and sharing with all of your friends and family!

If you've gotten this far, thanks for reading our entire newsletter! Keep an eye out for more updates via social media and don't hesitate to reach out! We'd love to hear from you :)

Copyright © 2018 SmartPhones4Water, All rights reserved.

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3881 Benatar Way, Suite G
Chico, CA 95928

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SmartPhones4Water · 3881 Benatar Way, Suite G · Chico, CA 95928 · USA

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