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Press Release 
Citizen Science: The next wave in water resource assessment and monitoring 

International workshop to disseminate citizen science tools for improved water resource management

11-12 February 2016

Celebrating World Wetlands Month – 2016


The Water Research Commission together with GroundTruth and WESSA (Wildlife and Environment Society of South Africa) has developed a suite of citizen science tools to monitor water resources. The development of these tools is aimed at integrating civil society into the routine monitoring of water resource management in South Africa’s major catchments including trans-boundary management. The idea is that if citizen’s knowledge of water resources (and associated impacts) is improved, the greater understanding and insight as to the state of their resources empowers them to interact with authorities and co-manage their resources in a more meaningful way. This in turn will effect greater change and better management of their resources. Citizen-based tools for the monitoring of catchment and river health have great potential to create awareness, educate and empower citizens to better manage activities within their community, improving habitat health and ecosystem services.

The aim of this workshop is to demonstrate the application of these tools and showcase their capability to collect robust scientific data in a simplified manner. The demonstration will also ensure that citizens learn how to apply the tools correctly and understand the context in which they should be applied.

The international representatives from Kenya and UNESCO as well as local representatives from government and private sectors, NGO’s, university students and private individuals will be spending a day and a half learning how to use miniSASS, the Clarity Tube, the Transparent Velocity Head Rod (TVHR), the Riparian Health Audit tool and the wetland assessment tool as well as making their own weather tools.

At this workshop, which takes cognisance of the international wetlands celebration month, from the 2nd February to 2nd March 2016, under the theme “Sustainable livelihoods”, Water Research Commission will use the time to launch recently published wetland buffer zone guidelines (forming part of the Preliminary guideline for the determination of buffer zones for rivers, wetlands and estuaries) which guides the water resource managers and communities on sustainable methods available in the wise use of wetlands. The launch will see the practical demonstration of these tools at the Cascades Wetland in Pietermaritzburg, in partnership with WESSA, GroundTruth, the Departments of Water and Sanitation, Environmental Affairs, Science and Technology, and local municipalities. The outcomes for this workshop are aimed at developing a citizen science community of practice to improve trans-boundary catchment management as well as engagement with international organisations sharing the same goal.

A similar workshop will be hosted again later this year at a different location in South Africa.

Contact: Mr Bonani Madikizela, Research Manager –Water-Linked Ecosystems email: bonanim@wrc.org.za  Cell: Cell: +0832907238




A simple Citizen Science tool to measure stream velocitity and discharge
Demonstration of the use of clarity tube
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