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Summer 2019 Update from SmartPhones4Water (Q3 2019)!

SmartPhones4Water (S4W) mobilizes young researchers, citizen scientists and mobile technology to improve lives by strengthening our understanding and management of water. We've had a busy summer between continuing work in Nepal and kickstarting work in other locations! Keep reading for an update on what we've been doing :)

All Things Nepal (Monsoon Monitoring, Conferences, and Other Campaigns)!

It's been a busy summer for S4W-Nepal staff and citizen scientists between monitoring precipitation during the monsoon (which lasts roughly from June to September) and a variety of other data collection efforts. Included below is an update written by S4W-Nepal staff recapping a recent conference where they had the opportunity to present hard-earned and well-deserved results from some of these efforts. :)

Sustainable Water Resource Management (Kantipur Engineering College Conference Review)

The Kantipur Engineering College (KEC) hosted its ‘2nd International Conference on Engineering and Technology’ on September 26, 2019. The main objective of the conference was to enhance the research ability of undergraduate/graduate students and young researchers. The conference incorporated a broad range of engineering disciplines, including information and technology, civil, computer, electrical, and mechanical engineering. Each discipline was covered in special sessions and symposiums.
 
Smartphones4Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) organized a symposium entitled ‘Sustainable Water Resource Management.’ The symposium included six technical presentations and one special presentation. Three of the presentations were from research that S4W-Nepal initiated in the Kathmandu Valley; the topics were calculation of drinking water quality index of the Bhaktapur Municipality, groundwater level variability, and the status of stone spouts. The other informative presentations covered water-induced disaster management, sustainable urban drainage systems, and water security. The special presentation was by some of our colleagues from TU Delft titled ‘Academic life at TU Delft and their research in the Kathmandu Valley.’
 
Overall, the conference was a wonderful platform to share our ideas, research findings, and the use of the citizen science approach with national and international participants, visitors, and guests from diverse backgrounds. All of us from S4W-Nepal were honored to be a part of the conference and were overwhelmed by the opportunity to present the research works that we, including our citizen scientists, have invested a lot of effort in. We look forward to future opportunities and platforms like this which will help us continue to enhance our research ability, presentation, and communication skills. 
Group photo including S4W-Nepal team with national and international participants of the symposium.
Additional stories about some of the work presented at the KEC Conference are in development and should be available online soon! Additionally, S4W-Nepal is gearing up for the 4th annual Mountains in a Changing World (MoChWo) conference which is taking place on October 18th and 19th in Kathmandu!

Schools and Satellites (the exciting launch of S4W-Africa)!

We are pleased to announce that we're assisting with an upcoming project called Schools and Satallites (SaS) to better quantify and understand precipitation patterns in Ghana in West Africa. Understanding precipitation patterns is critical for water management anywhere. In West Africa, rain gauges (ground-based measurements) are few and far between. Imagery from satellites (remote sensing measurements) can be used to estimate precipitation and present a potential solution; however, current precipitation estimates from satellites for the region are very inaccurate. Improving the understanding of precipitation patterns is especially important for food production and food security in the region.

The goal of SaS is to use machine learning to improve these precipitation estimates from satellites; ground-based precipitation measurements will be utilized in training and verification of the machine-learning algorithm developed. S4W will be assisting with these ground-based measurements; our classic 2-liter bottle rain gauges will be distributed to schools in Ghana, which will record local precipitation data using smartphones. You can learn more about this method of data collection here, and the accuracy of these gauges here. This project is expected to be underway soon! :) 

Other Ways to Participate and Support Us!

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!

You can also support us financially through our Crowdrise page here!

Finally, we are on social media (S4W on Facebook and Twitter, and S4W-Nepal on 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 check them all out below! The ones in italics are new ones that have come out since our last newsletter :)

Outside Stories
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

Imagine a Day Without Water is coming up on October 23, 2019. It is an educational outreach designed to increase awareness and understanding of what a vital resource water is in our everyday lives. SmartPhones4Water is participating! Find out more about the event by clicking on the picture below! 

:)

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 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!
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