Summer 2020 Update from SmartPhones4Water (Q2 2020)!

SmartPhones4Water (S4W) mobilizes young researchers, citizen scientists, and mobile technology to improve lives by strengthening our understanding and management of water. Our staff and citizen scientists are continuing work and data collection whenever safely possible, but we've had to press pause on some of our efforts due to the coronavirus. We hope that you and your loved ones are able to stay safe and healthy in these strange times; as an organization we are working to find safe and creative ways to continue and expand our work! As the dots on the image below show, we're currently collecting data on four different continents! Here's an update on what we've been up to around the world recently :)

An Update from Nepal in Asia!

There are a lot of exciting things to report from Nepal! Although working safely during the coronavirus has made some of the ongoing work more inconvenient, it hasn't slowed down the S4W-Nepal team. They're not only continuing prior efforts, but coming up with and implementing some great new ideas as well :)
This spring, S4W-Nepal founded the Young Researchers' Circle (YRC). YRC is a collaborative group formed to promote and support citizen-science based water monitoring and management in the Kathmandu Valley and other areas of Nepal. You can read more about YRC and get to know Sagar Gosai, a longtime citizen scientist with S4W-Nepal and vice-secretary of the YRC, in this article
Monsoon Expedition 2020 is also currently underway! In the past few years, the Monsoon Expedition has had a different focus each year. This year the goal is to expand the spatial extent of data collection to include areas of Nepal outside of the Kathmandu Valley (although COVID-19 restricted plans to achieve this goal). The image below shows precipitation stations associated with different locations. The majority of data collection still occurs near Kathmandu (right image) but has now also expanded to other parts of Nepal (left image). You can read a full update from the S4W-Nepal team about monitoring the 2020 monsoon and how COVID-19 has presented unique opportunities for citizen science on our website.
Finally, S4W-Nepal has been producing tutorial videos on the use of Quantum GIS (QGIS), a free and open-source geographic information system software platform. You can find these videos on Youtube to learn more about this useful tool with a wide variety of practical applications for resource management :)

An Update from Ghana in West Africa!

The goal of the Schools and Satellites (SaS) project in Ghana is to better understand precipitation patterns (mission critical for good stewardship of water resources). This will be done through a combination of satellite and on-the-ground measurements. The project is currently under way with citizen scientists (primarily farmers and participating schools) collecting precipitation measurements and recording data as you read this! :)

An Update from Delft in the Netherlands!

The good folks at TU Delft, in partnership with WaterLab, Gemeente Delft, and yours truly (ahem... S4W), are conducting a 2 month study of precipitation timing and frequency this summer across the city of Delft in the Netherlands. Those interested in learning more about this effort can find more here. TU Delft has been one of our oldest partners and supporters; we are excited about this effort and we look forward to continued collaboration with them in their hometown and across the world :)

An Update from California in North America

We launched water data collection with smartphones and citizen scientists in North America this year (although we're focused primarily in the worldwide headquarters of S4W in California) and have citizen scientists actively collecting data. In Chico, CA we have two exciting efforts currently underway: One is studying stream-aquifer interactions along Big Chico Creek as it flows westward out of the foothills and through Chico to its confluence with the mighty Sacramento River; the other is testing the emerging technology of measuring streamflow through video recordings of the water surface to measure water velocity (we are collecting data in both natural streams and manmade canals). Keep an eye out for more about these two studies coming soon :)

We also submitted a film for the Let's Talk About Water film festival in Canada this summer. If you create a free account, you can view our film online here. It was an honor to be able to participate and have our film featured alongside so many other beautiful and compelling films and stories about the importance of water!

Ways to Participate and Support Us!

We're actively recruiting citizen scientists in Asia, Africa, Europe, and North America! If that's where you call home, let us know if you're interested in helping with data collection. If you live elsewhere, still let us know! We're planning and scheming to start projects in other locations around the world as well, and we have servers ready to rock and roll with data collection for nations in South America or Oceania to continue our spread to new areas around the globe :)

If you have an old phone collecting dust, you can donate it to us and we'll put them in the hands of a citizen scientist overseas and to good use (or we'll sustainably recycle the phone and use funds generated to support work overseas). Find out more here! You can also support us financially through monetary donations here! If you're planning any charitable giving this year, we hope you'll consider us :)

Finally, we are on social media (S4W on Facebook and Twitter, and S4W-Nepal on Facebook and Instagram) and would love your support! We only post occasionally and promise not to overwhelm you ;)

Looking for More? Here's Some 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 find the full list of them at the link below :)

SmartPhones4Water Stories, Interviews, and More!
If you've gotten this far, great work! Give yourself a pat on the back and thanks so much for reading our entire newsletter! We'll be posting occasional updates via social media and be back in your inbox again with a new update in about three months or so. In the meantime, please reach out if you have any questions about our work, interest in participating or supporting us, or if you know any good citizen science jokes!

Speaking of jokes, do you know what the ocean says to the shoreline? Here's a hint.
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