January through March 2019 Update from SmartPhones4Water (Q1 2019)!

SmartPhones4Water (S4W) mobilizes young researchers and citizen scientists and leverages the power of mobile technology to improve lives by strengthening our understanding and management of water. Lots of exciting stuff is happening! Keep reading to find out what we've been up to, what we're looking forward to, and ways that 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!

S4W World Takeover Initiated!

We are excited to announce that we have news to report from 3 different continents! We've been at work in Nepal since 2015 and the vast majority of our efforts are concentrated there, but we are taking baby steps in new locations to improve data collection and engage with citizen scientists and young researchers to better manage and steward our crucial water resources. We'll take this one continent at a time :)

NEPAL (ahem... Asia)!

We recently published two peer-reviewed journal articles based on our work in Nepal! Links and a short description of each are included below:

  • Citizen Science Flow Assessment - published in the Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS) journal, this study evaluates simple streamflow measurement methods that can be implemented by citizen scientists to help fill the growing data gap resulting from a declining trend in streamflow measurements on a global scale. The study was conducted in the Kathmandu Valley to characterize pre- and post-monsoon streamflow conditions in 2018.
  • Soda Bottle Science - published in the journal Frontiers in Earth Science as part of a fantastically-titled research topic (MacGyver in Geosciences), this study evaluates the potential to mobilize citizen scientists using simple rain gauges (constructed from inexpensive, readily available materials) to improve our understanding of rainfall processes. The study was conducted during the 2018 monsoon in the Kathmandu Valley with over 150 citizen scientists participating in data collection. Thanks to everyone who was a part of this!
    • Only the abstract is currently available online, but the full-text should be available soon!
We enjoy sharing the personal stories of citizen scientists participating in our work, and recently published a new story that can be found on our website here. It is written in a new format developed by S4W-Nepal staff; we hope you enjoy the glimpse into the lives of some of the wonderful people we get to partner with to collect this important water resource information!
Staff on-the-ground in Nepal also recently participated in the 10th anniversary celebration of the Center of Research for Environment, Energy and Water (CREEW), which you can read a brief recap of here. In the near future, they are looking forward to and planning activities for World Water Day on March 22nd, preparing for precipitation data collection in the 2019 monsoon, and at work on a variety of other studies and efforts.

NETHERLANDS (...Europe)!

We are excited to announce a collaboration with the Water Management department at Rotterdam University of Applied Science, in collaboration with Associate Professor Martine Rutten (who is also on S4W's advisory board). The collaboration will be focused on finding ways to mobilize the university's undergraduate field data collection efforts to help close water data gaps. Initially, students from the Hogeschool will focus on systematically monitoring waste in the Netherlands’ waterways (see here) along with urban infiltration. Stay tuned to learn more about this in the future!

On March 21st, SmartPhones4Water will also be providing a training on SmartPhone data collection in collaboration with the TU Delft Water Management department. The training will be recorded and posted publicly. We'll be sure to share this link in our next newsletter!

CALIFORNIA (...North America)!

In the near future, we'll be looking to recruit citizen scientists to collect data and for opportunities for collaboration with universities and young researchers in California as well! We actually have two citizen scientists already collecting precipitation data; one in the northern part of the state (in the Sacramento Valley near the city of Winters) and one in the southern part (in the greater Los Angeles area). The figure below shows the preliminary precipitation record for February at the location near Winters. It's been a wet winter in California!

Additionally, S4W will be presenting at the This Way to Sustainability conference hosted by California State University Chico at the end of March. You can find out more information about this presentation here.

3 continents down and 4 to go ;)

Antarctica might be a bit of a tricky one... not a lot of citizens down there to recruit as citizen scientists... most likely the continent with the highest percentage of scientists of the total population though...

Ways that YOU Can Get Involved!

If you have an old smartphone (or other cell phone) sitting in a drawer somewhere, you can donate it to us and we'll either give it directly to a citizen scientist in Nepal or recycle it and use 100% of the funds generated to support ongoing work. You can find out more details about this here!

Like every other nonprofit organization, we'll also accept your money. 100% of your donation will go to work in Nepal (i.e. S4W-Nepal salaries and expenses) and none will be used for launching western (i.e. Netherlands or California) S4W projects. You can donate through our CrowdRise page here, or if you'd like to donate more than $100, please email us ( for a direct donation since CrowdRise takes a small cut of every donation for their operations.

We are also on social media (Facebook and Twitter) and would love your support! We only post occasionally and promise not to overwhelm you ;)

Finally, if any of the upcoming opportunities in areas near you sparked your interest (or if you're interested in starting something similar wherever it is you call home), please don't hesitate to contact us to see if there are other opportunities to work together :)

S4W-Nepal Stories!

Every so often, someone writes a story about our work. We also publish either an interview with a citizen scientist or science story about what we're doing through our website from time to time. You can check them all out below! The ones in italics are new ones that have come out since our last newsletter :)

2018 MoChWo Symposium Review
Citizen Science 2018 Pre-Monsoon Flow Campaign
A Report from the 2nd Annual MoChWo Conference
Developing a Monitoring Network
Collecting Data with SmartPhones and Citizen Scientists
Data Making a Difference - Flow Measurement at Stone Spouts

If you've gotten this far, thanks for sticking it out and reading our entire newsletter! We'll be posting periodic updates via social media and can't wait to fill you in on what happens in the next three months in our June newsletter!
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