Currently, PULSAQUA is involved in the following Citizen Science projects:

Drinkable Rivers Community

PULSAQUA works for the Drinkable Rivers foundation on its citizen science activities. Among others we help to design, maintain, and improve the measurement kit, we advise and develop the Drinkable Rivers community and data management, and we assist in the general coordination of events.

Drinkable Rivers works towards a world with drinkable rivers. By engaging people to experience their river through citizen science on water quality, they will understand the importance, grow love and care towards drinkable rivers. Monitoring our rivers also helps to track progress:

Drinkable Rivers works with hubs throughout the world. These hubs serve as Drinkable Rivers’ activation and distribution points. They have all received the same measurement toolkit and communication materials. The hubs help us activate their networks and share the kit with their community. We collect data on pH, EC, temperature, nitrate/nitrite, hardness, e-coli, surroundings, and more. The data is also visible here.

Furthermore, together with twelve universities, Drinkable Rivers organized a nation-wide event, called Alle Scholen Verzamelen! (All Schools Unite!) in 2020. Primary schools throughout the Netherlands joined Drinkable Rivers citizen science and monitored flowing fresh water in their area. We will organize this event again on 28 May 2021.

This project contributes to SDG6: Water and Sanitation, and specifically to target 6.3: “By 2030, improve water quality by reducing pollution, eliminating dumping and minimizing release of hazardous chemicals and materials, halving the proportion of untreated wastewater and substantially increasing recycling and safe reuse globally”

Schools and Satellites

Schools and Satellites (SaS) aims to better quantify and understand precipitation patterns in Ghana, West Africa. Understanding precipitation patterns is critical for water management anywhere. In West Africa, rain gauges are few and far between. Imagery from satellites like remote sensing data 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 needed to train and validate the machine learning algorithm. The targeted citizen science audience are Junior High School students.

The current Citizen Observatory consists of about 45 citizen observers who take measurements with low-cast self-made rain gauges, that pass on and record data via the S4W-system. The real-time collected data appears on this data portal.

This project is developed by a consortium of the TU Delft, TAHMO Ghana, GMet, and S4W, and is funded by the CSEOLab. It started in September 2019. PULSAQUA has been responsible for the citizen science part of the project, including the roll out of the Citizen Observatory, the engagement process of schools and teachers, and the development of the educational module.  For more information, please take a look at the pitch presentation we made to win the grant, or go to our webpage.

This project contributes to

  • SDG6: Water and Sanitation, and specifically to target 6.4: “Substantially increase water-use efficiency across all sectors and ensure sustainable withdrawals and supply of freshwater to address water scarcity and substantially reduce the number of people suffering from water scarcity”
  • SDG2: Zero Hunger, and specifically to target 2.3: “Double the agricultural productivity and incomes of small-scale food producers, in particular women, indigenous peoples, family farmers, pastoralists and fishers, including through secure and equal access to land, other productive resources and inputs, knowledge, financial services, markets and opportunities for value addition and non-farm employment”
  • SDG13: Climate Action, and specifically to target 13.3: “Improve education, awareness-raising and human and institutional capacity on climate change mitigation, adaptation, impact reduction and early warning”

Plastic pollution in the Dutch estuaries

Together with WaterLab, we are joining forces with Rijkswaterstaat and two Dutch Applied Universities to design and develop a monitoring plan to monitor plastic waste in Dutch estuaries where citizen science initiatives play a key role. We have performed several studies together with students from the TU Delft on system analysis and have mapped the actor and initiative environment, in order to advise with whom and when and where to focus the monitoring observatory. We furthermore started cooperation and networking between the existing initiatives in the field and made visible what differences there are between these initiatives via classification mapping. Visit also the WaterLab page (in Dutch) that describes the project.

This project contributes to SDG14: Life Below Water, and specifically to target 14.1: “By 2025, prevent and significantly reduce marine pollution of all kinds, in particular from land-based activities, including marine debris and nutrient pollution”

PULSAQUA is furthermore contributing to:

Finished projects and deliverables

Projects and deliverables performed in 2019:

  • Advising on a partnership between WAMUNET and UNESCO IHP
  • Evaluating the MoU between IHE Delft Institute for Water Education and the Dutch Ministry of Infrastructure and Water Management
  • Designing and organizing the International Workshop: Defining a national information strategy for SDG6 monitoring
  • A masterclass on Citizen Science for national SDG6 monitoring

In the previous years, we have gained much experience in water-related citizen science projects. Three contributions in specific I would like to highlight here.

  1. WaterLab: Development of a Citizen Science Platform
  2. Sandwatch: Researching the feasability for implementing the UNESCO initiative Sandwatch in the Netherlands
  3. FreshWaterWatch: contributing as local researcher in The Hague