The future role of Citizen Science in catchment management

Theme: Environmental Hazards & Pollution

Primary Supervisor:

Kate Heppell

School of Geography, QMUL

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Secondary Supervisor:

Muki Haklay

Geography, UCL

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Project Description:

Citizen Science and public participation in the collection of environmental observations for water management (ecosystem health, water quality and resources issues) is a growing field of research activity and long-term monitoring in the water sciences. Some initiatives are top-down driven by the scientific community, whilst others are led by community groups and NGOs brought together by local water management challenges. Advances in technology, including telemetry and data processing capabilities on smartphones, coupled with emerging low-cost sensor networks have led to the creation and growth of Citizen Science-based observation networks such as CrowdHydrology and CrowdWater. However questions of data accuracy, data visualisation techniques and how to best promote ongoing communication between Citizen Scientists, scientists and other stakeholders (e.g. Environment Agency, water companies etc) need to be addressed.

Thames Water are launching The Smarter Water Catchments Initiative with the aim of working with key stakeholders in the Thames Region to build better functioning river catchments. The programme offers a unique opportunity to research contrasting approaches to Citizen Science and evaluate the relative success of the different techniques being used. The project offers a test bed to evaluate data accuracy and visualisation methods, and to better understand how developing partnerships between scientists, policymakers and Citizen Scientists might be nurtured to optimise collaborative catchment management.

Policy Impact of Research:

This project offers an opportunity to work with stakeholders in the field of water management to influence future policy on water quality and quantity issues.

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