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Hydrology and Earth System Sciences An interactive open-access journal of the European Geosciences Union
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Discussion papers
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-425
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.
https://doi.org/10.5194/hess-2018-425
© Author(s) 2018. This work is distributed under
the Creative Commons Attribution 4.0 License.

Research article 21 Aug 2018

Research article | 21 Aug 2018

Review status
This discussion paper is a preprint. It is a manuscript under review for the journal Hydrology and Earth System Sciences (HESS).

Citizen science flow – an assessment of citizen science streamflow measurement methods

Jeffrey C. Davids1,2, Martine M. Rutten1, Anusha Pandey3, Nischal Devkota3, Wessel David van Oyen4, Rajaram Prajapati3, and Nick van de Giesen1 Jeffrey C. Davids et al.
  • 1Water Management, Civil Engineering and Geosciences, Delft University of Technology, TU Delft Building 23, Stevinweg 1, 2628 CN, Delft, Netherlands
  • 2SmartPhones4Water-CA, 3881 Benatar Way, Suite G, Chico, CA, 95928, USA
  • 3SmartPhones4Water-Nepal, Damodar Marg, Thusikhel, 44600, Lalitpur, Nepal
  • 4Engineering and Applied Sciences, Rotterdam University, Rotterdam, G.J. de Jonghweg 4-6, 3015 GG, Rotterdam, Netherlands

Abstract. Wise management of water resources requires data. Nevertheless, the amount of streamflow data being collected globally continues to decline. Involving citizen scientists to generate hydrologic data can potentially help fill this growing hydrological data gap. Our aim herein was to (1) evaluate three potential citizen scientist streamflow measurement approaches (i.e. float, salt dilution, and Bernoulli run-up), (2) select a preferred approach, and (3) pilot test the selected approach at a larger scale. We performed 20 side-by-side evaluation measurements in headwater catchments of the Kathmandu Valley. We used mid-section measurements from an acoustic Doppler velocimeter as reference flows. Evaluated flows ranged from 0.006 to 0.240m3s−1. Linear regressions forced through the origin for scatter plots with reference flows had slopes of 1.05, 1.01, and 1.26 with r-squared values of 0.90, 0.98, and 0.61, for float, salt dilution, and Bernoulli methods, respectively. After selecting the salt dilution method as the preferred approach, we performed larger scale pilot testing in a one-week Citizen Science Flow campaign (CS Flow) involving 20 volunteers. Observed flows (n = 145) ranged from 0.0004 to 0.425m3s−1 and were distributed among the 10 headwater catchments of the Kathmandu Valley. At locations with reference flows available (n = 5), a linear regression forced through the origin between reference flows and CS Flow measurements had a slope of 0.90 with an r-squared value of 0.97. Future work should evaluate the feasibility of applying citizen science salt dilution streamflow measurements to larger regions.

Jeffrey C. Davids et al.
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Short summary
Wise management of water resources requires data. Nevertheless, the amount of water data being collected continues to decline. We evaluated possible citizen science approaches for measuring flows of headwater springs and streams. After selecting salt dilution as the preferred approach, we partnered with local students to cost effectively measure flows and water quality with smartphones at 145 springs and streams that provide critical water supplies to the rapidly expanding Kathmandu Valley.
Wise management of water resources requires data. Nevertheless, the amount of water data being...
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