Citizen Science Celebration 2024

By Rohinee Bishwas Mandal and Hanik Lakhe

Each April, Citizen Science Month is celebrated to highlight the significance of citizen science and its impact on scientific research and environmental conservation efforts. It serves as a platform to raise awareness about the vital role played by citizen scientists and the positive contributions they make to society. This year, on April 20th, 2024, Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) hosted the Citizen Science Celebration event at Universal Engineering and Science College. The event was dedicated to honoring and expressing gratitude to the dedicated citizen scientists of S4W-Nepal who contribute to water resource monitoring and research activities. The celebration featured esteemed guests and speakers, including Dr. Bhesh Raj Thapa, General Secretary at S4W-Nepal, who served as the session chair. Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha, an Academician at the Nepal Academy of Science and Technology (NAST), graced the event as the chief guest, while Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, the SmartPhones4Water (S4W) Global Ambassador, joined as a special guest. Among the distinguished attendees were Dr. Rabin Malla (Executive Director, Center of Research for Environment, Energy and Water), Dr. Saurav KC (Deputy Executive Director, Center of Research for Environment, Energy and Water), Er. Suraj Gautam (Executive Director, Institute of Himalayan Risk Reduction), Mr. Niranjan Bista (Program Coordinator, The Small Earth Nepal), and Dr. Alka Sapkota (Board Member, S4W-Nepal). Most importantly, the event warmly welcomed the motivated citizen scientists of S4W-Nepal, whose presence and contributions added significant value to the celebration.

Group photo of the participants of the event

The program began with a brief welcome and introduction by the emcee, Research Assistant Ms. Rohinee Bishwas Mandal, followed by a welcome speech from Dr. Sanjiv Neupane, CEO of S4W-Nepal. Subsequently, a brief introduction session via Mentimeter that aimed at collecting background information about all participants and engaging them effectively, was conducted. Following this, Research Associate Mr. Sudeep Duwal delivered a presentation on “Citizen Science-Based Hydro-Meteorological Monitoring in the Kathmandu Valley,” focusing on the hydrological monitoring activities of S4W-Nepal.

The special guest, Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, shared his remarks, referencing a climatic event from July 28, 1997, in Colorado, USA, where unexpected heavy rainfall occurred, surpassing forecasts based on advanced technology. Through this, he underscored the necessity for ground-based, evidence-based local monitoring to complement technological forecasting methods, ensuring more accurate predictions. He introduced S4W-Nepal’s “Soda Bottle Science” concept and other global projects of S4W, such as the ‘Schools and Satellites’ in Africa and ‘Delft Meets Rain’ in the Netherlands, as steps toward it. Prajapati emphasized the importance of monitoring hydro-meteorological data, with only 9% of the least developed countries currently doing adequate monitoring. Moreover, he stressed the value of human observation and encouraged youth involvement in collaborative efforts for better progress.

Special Guest Mr. Rajaram Prajapati delivering his remarks

Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha, our esteemed Chief Guest, emphasized in his remarks the crucial role of Citizen Science in monitoring rainfall. He highlighted the need for prior validation and standardization by comparing it with DHM/satellite data before its end use. Moreover, he motivated S4W-Nepal’s team to initiate monitoring projects in unmonitored areas. Dr. Shrestha envisioned collaboration with international organizations such as the World Meteorological Organization, and UNESCO to advance this innovative concept. He also encouraged the young citizen scientists to continue generating data and using it confidently in their research.

Chief guest Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha delivering his remarks

The formal session was followed by certificate distribution. Certificates were distributed to Citizen Scientists who contributed to monitoring of suspended sediment, groundwater level, and rainfall. The rainfall and groundwater “Citizen Scientist of the Year 2023”, Mr. Sagar Gosai and Ms. Shrena Shrestha, were awarded a token of appreciation for their significant contributions in rainfall and groundwater data monitoring, respectively. Then, a few citizen scientists also shared their experiences related to water monitoring.

Mr. Saroj Gosai being Awarded Rainfall Citizen Scientist of the Year 2023 by Chief Guest Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha
Ms. Shrena Shrestha being Awarded Groundwater Citizen Scientist of the Year 2023 by Chief Guest Dr. Madan Lall Shrestha

Following this, Research Associate Goma Khadka moderated a round table discussion. Five groups of participants interacted and discussed various questions provided to them regarding citizen science. The motivation to be a part of the citizen science campaign, possible challenges in citizen science, achievements and learnings of citizen scientists, opportunities for citizen scientist and researcher collaboration, and improvement in citizen science were discussed in this session. Each group presented their findings and offered valuable suggestions. The Citizen Scientists stated that their contribution should be acknowledged more and should be provided with a platform for more collaborative research training and workshops for capacity building.

The program concluded with Dr. Sanjiv Neupane expressing gratitude to all participants, guests, and team members for their presence and efforts. Following the event, individuals interested in rainfall monitoring during the upcoming Monsoon Expedition 2024 were provided with rain gauges and training on data collection. Additionally, feedback and suggestions from the Citizen Scientists were collected through feedback sheets to facilitate necessary improvements in our activities. With a total of 58 participants, including Citizen Scientists, students, guests, and S4W-Nepal team members, the event was a success. The entire S4W-Nepal team is enthusiastic about hosting similar events to foster stronger connections with our dedicated citizen scientists and inspire their continued participation in future projects.

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Empowering Science Through Citizen Participation: Barsha Gautam’s Inspiring Journey with S4W-Nepal

Citizen science offers the power of science to everyone, and the power of everyone to science.” -J. Shirk

Imagine a network of over 700 citizen scientists working together to bridge the water data gaps in Nepal. This ambitious effort by S4W-Nepal is brought to life through the unique and inspiring journeys of its citizen scientists. At the heart of this endeavor is the story of Ms. Barsha Gautam, a dedicated citizen scientist whose journey with S4W-Nepal exemplifies the transformative impact of citizen participation in scientific research.

Ms. Barsha Gautam is a resident of  Suryabinayak, Bhaktapur. Barsha is currently pursuing her Master’s degree in Environmental Science at Khwopa College, Bhaktapur, and is working as an Environment Analyst at Himalayan Research Forum Nepal, Baneshwor, Kathmandu. Besides this, she is also an enthusiastic reader and nature explorer.

Ms. Barsha Gautam, S4W Rainfall Citizen Scientist

She has been associated with S4W-Nepal as a rainfall citizen scientist since 2021 and has been actively participating in the Monsoon Expedition ever since. Barsha discovered S4W-Nepal through her college seniors and decided to gain more information through our social media handles. She was fascinated by the idea of using smartphones and soda-bottle rain gauges to support monitoring, research, and sustainable water resource management. She describes her experience as fulfilling and notes that it has deepened her understanding of environmental monitoring and data collection. Despite her busy schedule, which includes college, work, studies, and various projects, knowing that her small contribution supports sustainable water resource management and research motivates her. Her family also understands the importance of environmental conservation and encourages her to follow her passion.

Ms. Barsha Gautam recording rainfall data using S4W-Nepal’s rain gauge and ODK- Collect application

Barsha recognizes that S4W-Nepal’s work encompasses more than just collecting rainfall data; it extends to monitoring groundwater, streamflow, and sediment concentration. As an environmental science student, she understands the complexities of groundwater management compared to surface water management. Intrigued by the potential for improving management practices through quality and level monitoring, she is eager to contribute to groundwater monitoring efforts in her community. Barsha is committed to continuing her journey with S4W-Nepal and encourages others, especially those interested in water-related studies, to join as Citizen Scientists.

Ms. Barsha Gautam (on the right) with fellow citizen scientists during the Citizen Scientists Celebration 2024

Looking ahead, she hopes for continued support and guidance from S4W-Nepal in her research initiative too. Furthermore, she suggested that S4W-Nepal should encourage young researchers often by conducting sessions and sharing resources. Lastly, she believes being a part of S4W-Nepal has enriched her experience, and she eagerly anticipates further learning and opportunities to contribute.

We congratulate her on her recent achievement of receiving the Chandra Gurung Memorial Fellowship 2023 from WWF Nepal! This achievement reaffirms her commitment to conservation and inspires her to contribute even more effectively in this field. We wish her continued success in her vision of making significant contributions to environmental conservation and sustainable practices.

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VICTORY: Visualizing the Power of Citizen Science Through Observations and Repository for Anticipatory Action

By Sudeep Duwal and Goma Khadka

Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) in collaboration with the Institute of Himalayan Risk Reduction (IHRR) and supported by the Asian Disaster Preparedness Center (ADPC) has successfully launched the Victory Project at two municipalities: Barbardiya Municipality, Bardiya district which is prone to flood and Bhimeshwor Municipality, Dolakha district which is prone to landslide in Nepal. The VICTORY project stands for “Visualizing the Power of Citizen Science Through Observations and Repository for Anticipatory Action,” and aims to leverage citizen science to improve disaster preparedness. The project harnesses the collective strength of communities, turning everyday individuals into scientific contributors for the Early Warning System (EWS) in floods and landslides via the use of low-cost hardware (precipitation and water level sensors) and software solutions (citizen science crowdsourcing mobile application). The VICTORY facilitates early action and decision-making, minimizing the impact of disasters thereby demonstrating when science and citizens unite, remarkable transformations are possible.

Citizen Scientists of the Victory Project

The project began with an inception meeting with local representatives and ward-level sensitization meetings in both municipalities to enhance the understanding and capacities of local stakeholders in disaster management and preparedness. These meetings introduced the VICTORY project’s objectives, familiarized participants with the principles of citizen science, and emphasized the importance of community-driven data collection for developing effective early warning systems. During these interactive sessions, participants engaged in thorough discussions and transect walks to identify the most flood-prone and landslide-prone areas.

Victory Project Launching Ceremony

Subsequently, 58 citizen scientists in Barbardiya Municipality and 56 in Bhimeshwor Municipality were recruited to monitor rainfall, floods, and landslides. Capacity-building training sessions were organized for these citizen scientists to enhance their knowledge and skills in disaster preparedness and response. During the training, the citizen scientists pledged to monitor local disaster events, taking oaths from the respective Mayors and Deputy Mayors of Barbardiya and Bhimeshwor Municipalities. Additionally, 906 students from 15 secondary and high-level schools were oriented on the citizen science approach, the importance of water resources, and the need for monitoring for sustainable management.

Outreach programs organized in the academic institution

Currently, citizen scientists are actively collecting rainfall, flood level, and landslide data in their localities using the Victory mobile application. To ensure data quality, each data entry undergoes a quality control process to address any potential challenges or issues. Simultaneously, we are motivating the citizen scientists through various approaches, including regular follow-ups and messages, awarding points, providing communication allowances, sharing weather data forecasts, and disseminating the collected data.

Citizen scientists learning to take rainfall measurements using an S4W rain gauge

Looking ahead, we will sustain continuous engagement with local representatives, stakeholders, and relevant government agencies to ensure the sustainability of this citizen science approach and its integration into the municipalities’ disaster risk management strategies. Moreover, the project aims to foster risk-informed and resilient communities by empowering local governments, communities, and individuals through the innovative application of citizen science.

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Water Heritage Scavenger Hunt – Know Your City

By Sudeep Duwal and Rohinee Bishwas Mandal

Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal), in collaboration with Walk to Connect and Nepal Scout Pioneer Open Crew, successfully organized the Water Heritage Scavenger Hunt event in Bhaktapur on October 17, 2023. The primary objective of the campaign was to unveil the various facets (historical, socio-cultural, and architectural) of the traditional Hiti system of the ancient city of Bhaktapur. The Hiti system, a traditional water management system in the Kathmandu Valley, Nepal, comprises several components: raajkulo: the canals, pukhu: the ponds, hiti: the spouts, tunchhi: the groundwater wells, athal: filtration chamber, Jahru: water storage tanks, and dhown: the drains. The event was intricately designed to explore and gather information about traditional water resources through hiking with the students, scouts, young researchers, cultural activists, and experts in the alleys of Bhaktapur. Furthermore, the event focused on introducing school students and youths to the traditional hiti system through interactive challenges, expert consultation, and a community-based questionnaire survey.

Schematic diagram of traditional Hiti system. [Photo: P.S. Joshi]

The exploration of water heritage commenced at, Siddhapokhari (Ta: pukhu), the largest pukhu in Bhaktapur located on the western side, and concluded at the Bhisindhyo hiti in Dattatreya Square on the eastern side of Bhaktapur. Sixty-three students from various schools who actively participated in the event were divided into ten groups. The participants had to navigate their designated routes, uncovering the water heritage by following marked directions along the way. They gathered information about the water heritage through a questionnaire survey, engaging with local residents and tackling tricky puzzles during their journey. At culturally significant water heritage sites, resource persons shared profound insight into the remarkable history, interesting stories, experiences, management practices, and current status of the water heritage of Bhaktapur.

Resource person Mr. Om Prasad Dhaubhadel sharing his knowledge and experience with students.

A total of 23 hitis, 11 pukhus, 8 jahrus, and more than 15 tunchhis were explored during the water heritage hunt. The participants witnessed the marvelous architecture, religious and cultural aspects, and aesthetic beauty of traditional water heritage. Each site depicted a glimpse of the history and intricate traditional water management system of Bhaktapur. However, it was noted that many of these water heritages were in a vulnerable state with damaged and eroded structures, dried hitis and pukhus, stolen idols, etc., emphasizing the need for diligent attention toward their renovation, revitalization, and preservation.

Students interviewing the local residents about the water heritage at Bhajya Pukhu.

This initiative is believed to foster curiosity and concern about traditional water resources among future generations, communities, and stakeholders. This campaign has bridged between researchers, cultural activists, experts, and students for future collaboration to preserve and promote the astounding water heritage of Bhaktapur City. Moreover, it was fascinating to observe the students’ enthusiasm to interact with communities and experts, undoubtedly bolstering their teamwork practices, creative thinking capacity, and participation in interactive activities. Most importantly, it provided them with valuable insight into the hiti system and its management practices.

Group photo at Dattatreya square during the closing ceremony.

S4W-Nepal is thankful to Walk to Connect for the collaborative opportunity in this impactful awareness campaign. Additionally, S4W-Nepal would also like to acknowledge Nepal Scout Pioneer Open Crew, Temple and Statue Directory, #365daysofexploringbhaktapur,, and  Bhaktapur Tourism Development Committee for their support in making this campaign possible. Moreover, special thanks to the resource persons Mr. Om Prasad Daubhadel and Mr. Ram Sundar Bhele for their contribution and insightful sharing of the water heritage in Bhaktapur.

Joshi, J. (2015) Preserving the Hiti, Ancient Water Spout System of Nepal. In: Australia ICOMOC Conference, November 2015. Adelaide: ICOMOS Australia.n: Demos.

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Empowering Citizen Scientists in Sustainable Water Resource Management: An Impactful Journey of Susa Manandhar

All scientists are citizens, but not all scientists are Citizen Scientists (Stilgoe, 2009). Citizen Scientists are the people who collaborate with professional scientists to collect and analyze scientific data. The daily life of the citizens is connected with scientific inquiries about the environment, exploring questions related to how, where, when, who, and what. Engaging as a citizen scientist allows these individuals to personally answer these questions. More essentially, citizen scientists are a great help to scientists in collecting extensive data that would otherwise be impractical for scientists to obtain due to constraints in time and resources. Also, the perspectives and experiential knowledge of citizen scientists involved in environment monitoring can offer valuable insights for the sustainable application of the citizen science approach.

Susa Manandhar, a dedicated citizen scientist with Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal), shares six years of experience collecting daily rainfall and monthly groundwater level measurements. A Kathmandu resident and recent graduate in Meteorology from Trichandra Multiple Campus, Kathmandu, Nepal, Susa looks forward to pursuing a Master’s degree in the Cryosphere. Currently a Program Assistant at Small Earth Nepal (SEN), she not only excels professionally but also enjoys exploring new places, both within and outside the country.

Susa became involved as an S4W-Nepal citizen scientist during the 2018 monsoon expedition outreach campaign at Trichandra Multiple Campus. Since then, she has regularly collected rainfall measurements in the monsoon season (May to September). Simultaneously, in 2019, she learned more about citizen science-based groundwater monitoring in the Kathmandu Valley through the S4W-Nepal Facebook page. Susa actively participates in the groundwater monitoring campaign and regularly monitors the groundwater level at her residence. She shared a heartwarming experience about how her parents reminded her to take rainfall and groundwater measurements each time she forgot. Sometimes, her parents took measurements and shared the data with her whenever she was unable to do so. Her contribution to the citizen science campaign won’t stop there; she plays a vital role as a college representative, facilitating the monsoon expedition outreach campaign at her college. Furthermore, she is also an Executive Member of the Young Researchers’ Circle (YRC), a research group formed by S4W-Nepal.

Ms. Susa Manandhar (on the left) with fellow citizen scientists during the Citizen Scientists Celebration 2021. [Photo: S4W-Nepal]

According to her, becoming a citizen scientist provides her with a sense of responsibility to carefully monitor the surrounding environment. With a background in meteorology, she understands the crucial role of hydro-meteorological data in climate change analysis, hazard assessment, and daily weather forecasting. The potential applications to achieve sustainable water resource management from the data collected by her and other citizen scientists further motivated her to regularly monitor the water parameters. In her six-year journey as a citizen scientist, she has always passionately participated in S4W-Nepal’s campaigns, events, and training. In recognition of her unwavering dedication, she was honored with the ‘Citizen Scientist of the Year 2021’ award.

Susa conveyed her happiness and satisfaction in being part of the initiative. She requested her fellow citizen scientists to stay motivated and continue data collection, emphasizing the positive impact their data has been making. Furthermore, she suggested S4W-Nepal to provide timely updates, information, and results of the citizen scientists’ data through various platforms, including the website, and social media. Additionally, she looks forward to continuing with the same enthusiasm and passion in the upcoming years.

Stilgoe, J. (2009). Citizen Scientists: reconnecting science with civil society. London: Demos.

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Unleashing the Power of Citizen Science: S4W-Nepal’s Monsoon Expedition Experience Through the Eyes of a Passionate Participant – Somy Bhattarai

An effective water monitoring practice, achieved through the application of effective research, can lead us to sustainable water resource management. In developing countries like Nepal, water resources are vulnerable in terms of quality and quantity, and there is a lack of efficient plans and policies for monitoring to support sustainable water resource management practices. To address this issue, Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) has mobilized citizen scientists (CS), mobile technology, and young researchers in the Kathmandu Valley and other parts of the country to collect hydro-meteorological data, enhance understanding of water resources through research, and support wise water management decisions S4W-Nepal has successfully involved more than 600 citizen scientists from 2018 to 2022 in the Kathmandu Valley, focusing on rainfall, groundwater, and stone spout measurement. One active participant in this project is Ms. Somy Bhattarai, who has shared her experiences and learnings as a citizen scientist of S4W-Nepal.

Figure 1: S4W-Nepal Admin Officer Mr. Umesh Sejwal providing S4W rain gauge to Ms. Somy Bhattarai

Somy Bhattarai is currently pursuing a Master’s degree in Environmental Science at the Central Department of Environmental Science (CDES), Tribhuvan University. Originally from Biratamod, Jhapa, she currently resides in Kirtpur while pursuing her master’s degree. As the eldest sibling in her family, she will be the first to graduate. Somy has a keen interest in entertainment and acquiring knowledge. She enjoys activities such as watching movies, reading new research articles, and exploring social media platforms to gain valuable insights and find relaxation. Her typical day involves attending classes at the university and completing assignments. Additionally, she had the opportunity to intern for 15 days at S4W-Nepal, where she gained knowledge in hydrological data analysis using various software tools like ArcGIS and Python, among others, as part of her master’s curriculum.

Figure 2: Ms. Somy Bhattarai, awarded the title of Citizen Scientist of the Year, poses with the token of appreciation.

Somy learned about S4W-Nepal and its Monsoon Expedition through the organization’s Facebook page. The ongoing research conducted by S4W-Nepal and its significant contribution to water resources management greatly impressed her. As a result, she became eager to participate in the Monsoon Expedition of S4W-Nepal as a Citizen Scientist. In 2022, S4W-Nepal organized an outreach program at CDES, Tribhuvan University, and Somy seized this opportunity to actively engage as a citizen scientist. She proved to be one of the most active participants, even continuing rainfall monitoring after the completion of the Monsoon Expedition. Using a cost-effective soda bottle rain gauge and an Android mobile application called Open Data Kit (ODK) Collect, she measures daily rainfall. She was amazed by the convenience offered by the ODK Collect application and its quality features, such as recording date, time, high-quality photos, videos, accurate location tracking, and offline functionality. She also commended S4W-Nepal for their creative approach in repurposing soda bottles as rain gauges, highlighting their contribution to environmental sustainability.

As an Environmental Science student, Somy understands the significance of precise and accurate spatial and temporal rainfall data, especially in data-scarce countries like Nepal. She realizes that individual efforts in collecting rainfall data can yield valuable data and insights, which fills her with a sense of positivity as a citizen scientist. Being a citizen scientist keeps her informed about the data and outcomes of rainfall scenarios that are gathered and shared by S4W-Nepal, which further motivates her. Additionally, the stories of other citizen scientists and the recognition they receive such as Citizen Scientist of the Month and Year awards, have incredibly inspired her. In her interview, she expressed her joy at being awarded the Citizen Scientist of the Year 2022, which serves as a strong motivation for her to continue taking regular measurements.

Furthermore, she deeply appreciates S4W-Nepal’s citizen science approach in generating hydro-meteorological data in Kathmandu Valley and some other parts of the country. She is grateful for the opportunity to be a part of S4W-Nepal’s monsoon expedition as a citizen scientist and for enabling her to contribute to a greater cause. She encouraged her fellow citizen scientists to collect the data actively and honestly, emphasizing the significant impact that can be achieved through their small actions. Moreover, she recommended S4W-Nepal to expand such campaigns all over Nepal including rural areas.

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Welcome and Farewell Ceremony 2023

On 5 June 2023, Smartphones For Water-Nepal (S4W-Nepal) organized a welcome and farewell program to commemorate the arrival of its new CEO, Dr. Sanjiv Neupane, and bid farewell to the former CEO, Dr. Bijay Man Shakya. The event took place at S4W-Nepal main office, Thasikhel, Lalitpur, where research staff and S4W Global Ambassador Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, gathered to celebrate the transition and express gratitude to Dr. Shakya for his valuable contributions.
The program began with a warm welcome address by the Research Associate at S4W-Nepal; Mr. Sudeep Duwal, acknowledging the achievements and leadership of Dr. Bijay Man Shakya during his tenure. He expressed his deep appreciation for his visionary guidance, which resulted in the company’s significant growth and success. Another Research Associate at S4W-Nepal; Mr. Hanik Lakhe gives a brief presentation on the introduction of S4W-Nepal highlighting the importance of the citizen science approach in research, especially in data-constrained countries like Nepal.

Figure 1: S4W Global Ambassador Mr. Rajaram Prajapati presents Certificate of Appreciation to outgoing CEO Dr. Bijay Man Shakya

The presentation was followed by the presentation of a token of appreciation to the outgoing CEO; Dr. Bijay Man Shakya by the country ambassador Mr. Rajaram Prajapati. Dr. Shakya also shared his reflections on his time as CEO and expressed his confidence in Dr. Sanjiv Neupane’s abilities to lead the company to new heights.

Figure 2: A Warm Welcome to our New CEO Dr. Sanjiv Neupane, as the S4W Ambassador Mr. Rajaram Prajapati Extends a Token of Love

Following the farewell remarks, the attention shifted to welcoming Dr. Sanjiv Neupane as the new CEO. The Global Ambassador presented a token of love to the new CEO. The event proceeds with a formal handover ceremony, where Dr. Bijay Man Shakya symbolically passes on the baton of leadership to Dr. Sanjiv Neupane. Dr. Neupane delivered a speech expressing his excitement and gratitude for the opportunity to lead the company. He emphasized his commitment to building upon the organization’s achievements and fostering a culture of innovation, collaboration, and employee growth.

Following the words of commitment by the new CEO, Research staff at S4W-Nepal came forward to share their experiences working under Dr. Shakya’s leadership and their hopes for the future under Dr. Neupane’s guidance.

Figure 3: Special guest, S4W Global Ambassador, Mr. Rajaram Prajapati’s memorable remarks

The climax of the event arrived with the concluding remarks by Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, the esteemed Global Ambassador. He commended the achievements of Dr. Shakya and praised his exemplary leadership, which contributed significantly to the company’s success. Mr. Prajapati expressed his confidence in Dr. Neupane’s abilities to continue the company’s growth and strengthen its position in the industry. He encouraged the employees to support the new CEO and work collectively towards achieving new milestones.

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Post-Monsoon Citizen Scientists Celebration 2021

Post-Monsoon Citizen Scientists Celebration 2021

Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) organized the Post-Monsoon Citizen Scientists (CS) Celebration on the 27th of November 2021 at Alfa House Banquet, Baneshwor to commemorate the success of the ‘Monsoon Expedition 2021’. S4W-Nepal had aimed this program to be a gesture of gratitude towards its CS for their time and dedication during the entire expedition. Dr. Dinesh Pathak, the President of S4W-Nepal and a Professor at the Central Department of Geology of Tribhuvan University, had been invited as the chief guest of the event. Shortly after a brief introductory session of the participants, the program was commenced by Ms. Priya Silwal, the Research Associate of S4W-Nepal, with an introduction on S4W-Nepal and its activities. It was then followed by the presentation on “Citizen Science-based Monsoon Expedition” by Mr. Sudeep Duwal, the Research Associate of S4W-Nepal. He discussed the importance of the citizen science approach in generating the data with good spatial coverage for a better understanding of the rainfall pattern of the Kathmandu Valley (Valley). He also explained about the reliability of a cost-effective S4W rain gauge and demonstrated the comparison of CS-generated rainfall data with the rainfall data generated by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM).

Figure 1: Group photo of the participants of the event

The major highlight of the program was the certificate distribution session. The participants of the Monsoon Expedition 2021 were awarded with certificates of appreciation by the chief guest for their continued enthusiasm throughout the expedition. Ms. Susa Manandhar was awarded with the title of ‘Rainfall CS of the year’ for 2021, and was given a token of appreciation for her significant contribution in taking daily rainfall measurements. The ‘CS of the month’ for each month throughout the expedition were also acknowledged during the event. Moreover, the CS who have been actively participating in the annual monsoon expedition of S4W-Nepal since 2018 were also applauded with a token of appreciation. Apart from that, certificates were provided to the past executive team (2020/2021) of the Young Researchers’ Circle (YRC) for their remarkable work throughout their tenure.

Figure 2: Chief guest Dr. Dinesh Pathak delivering his remarks

After the certificate distribution session, the chief guest, Dr. Pathak gave his valuable remarks regarding the applicability of S4W-Nepal’s  Citizen Science approach in generating hydro-meteorological data in resource-constrained areas like Nepal. He stated that precipitation is a pivotal component of the hydrological cycle and groundwater is a precious freshwater resource of our country, extensively available for consumption. Therefore, there is a crucial need for monitoring the precipitation and understanding the groundwater recharge potential to effectively manage the available water resources. He further explained the difficulties in understanding the microclimatic events of Nepal due to insufficient DHM hydrometeorological stations, and applauded S4W-Nepal for its remarkable steps in the field of science for collecting the much-needed data. Further, some interested CS also shared the experiences regarding their participation in the monsoon expedition. Most of them stated that they feel extremely happy to be a part of this campaign playing a significant role in rainfall data generation in a data scarce country like Nepal. Some of them mentioned how their involvement in the expedition has increased their concern and curiosity regarding hydrological research in the country and boosted their enthusiasm to contribute to it. 

The formal program was concluded by Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, the Chief Executive Officer (CEO) of S4W-Nepal, with his words of thanks. He thanked all the CS and young researchers for their active involvement in preparing their own rain gauge for the monsoon expedition of 2020 and 2021, amidst the restrictions of the COVID-19. He added that it is impossible to use expensive trackers and entirely depend upon the government for data generation in disaster-prone developing regions like Nepal, so each citizen must play their part in research activity. He further added that the DHM data is insufficient for drawing reliable conclusions, so the CS-generated data is extremely valuable for the long run and it should be kept up to date. He mentioned how he believes in making science simple and visible and concluded his words with his plan to work in flood monitoring.

Figure 3: The CEO of S4W-Nepal, Mr. Rajaram Prajapati giving the concluding remarks

The formal session was concluded by taking a group photo and it was followed by an interactive session where the participants actively interacted with their counterparts. The feedback and suggestions of the CS were also collected by requesting them to fill the feedback sheets to make necessary improvements to the expedition in the upcoming years. There were 34 participants in total including the CS, YRC executive members, and S4W-Nepal staff in the event, which was moderated by Ms. Anusha Chalise, the Research Assistant of S4W-Nepal. The entire S4W-Nepal team looks forward to conducting similar events to enhance their relationships with their hardworking CS, and make it simpler and easier for them in further projects.

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Young Researchers’ Meet 2021

Young Researchers’ Meet 2021

Young Researchers’ Meet, the first physical event of the Young Researchers’ Circle (YRC), was hosted by YRC and Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal) on 20th March 2021 at Khwopa College, Bhaktapur. The main objective of this interactive event was to provide some valuable insights to the participants regarding the prevailing water resources management issues in Nepal and some possible solutions. The best part of this event was the presentations delivered by the guests. After the brief introductory presentation about YRC by the coordinator of YRC, Ms. Priya Silwal, Mr. Anoj Khanal, a geologist at the Kathmandu Valley Water Supply Management Board (KVWSMB) presented on the topic “Evidence-based groundwater management – A Case study of Kathmandu Valley”. He enlightened the audience about the present status of groundwater resources in the country and the role of several government organizations like KVWSMB in groundwater resource management. He described how ironic it is that the management approaches related to groundwater resources in Nepal are dependent upon the data generated about 30 years ago. He talked about the crucial need to conduct a detailed study about the present condition of groundwater aquifers of the Valley to make the groundwater management approaches more effective. 

Figure 1: The guests (Left Mr. Tika Gurung right Mr. Anoj Khanal) delivering the presentations on their respective topics

Then, our second guest lecturer, Mr. Tika Gurung, the research associate of the International Centre for Integrated Mountain Development (ICIMOD), demonstrated the findings on “Glacier mass and energy balance studies in two glaciers of Nepal.” He focused on the detailed study conducted by his team on monitoring the two glaciers: Yala and Rikha Samba in the Langtang Valley. He also enlightened the audience about the methods used to monitor the glaciers and also explained his findings about the effects of climate change observed in the glaciers of Nepal. Also, he shared his personal experiences associated with the research.

The program was concluded by Mr. Rajaram Prajapati, the CEO of S4W-Nepal, with his words of thanks. Briefly highlighting the motive of establishing YRC, he encouraged the audience to utilize their opportunity of getting involved in a circle of such innovative minds and show their active participation in its activities. The event was moderated by one of the executive members of the YRC, Ms. Sumnima Ghimire. Shrena Shrestha, an enthusiastic Executive Member of YRC, was rewarded with the ‘Rainfall CS of the Year 2020’ award of S4W-Nepal for her significant contribution in taking daily rainfall measurements in the S4W-Nepal’s ‘Monsoon Expedition 2020’. The event was conducted on the occasion of the Nepal National Weather and Water Week (NNWWW). It was basically a public platform where young people from different educational backgrounds interested in the management of water resources participated. The audience, mainly composed of students of different backgrounds such as environmental science, engineering, meteorology, and geology, had an active interaction with the presenters on their respective topics. We look forward to such events in the future that will boost our understanding regarding water resources and research skills. 

Figure 2: Group photo of YRC Meet attendees

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Streamflow monitoring in the Hanumante Watershed

Streamflow monitoring in the Hanumante Watershed

Flooding is regarded as one of the critical concerns in urban areas of Nepal, especially Kathmandu Valley (KV). The frequency of urban flooding in the KV has increased dramatically over the recent years owing to abrupt population growth, and unplanned urbanization (World Bank, 2017). Apart from that, river pollution is widely prevalent in the KV, which has ultimately affected the urban ecology of the streams.  Among the different tributaries of the Bagmati river in the KV, the Hanumante river is highly prone to urban flooding, and water pollution. Although the river has several cultural/irrigational significance (Shrestha 2007; Sada, 2012) and its upstream is a critical source of water to the inhabitants, the river has become tremendously stressed in recent years. The river has experienced the two largest incidents of flooding in the last decade (2015 and 2018), which had several detrimental impacts. 


Figure 1: Flooding Hanumante Watershed in 2015 (left) and 2018 (right).

Furthermore, the flood risk seems to be emerging with each passing year. This can be attributed to the encroachment of the floodplains for settlement purposes and the government lags for developing/implementing proper land use policy (Prajapati, 2018). The direct discharge of untreated household sewage and industrial effluents, pesticides from agricultural runoff has led the Hanumante river to be severely polluted. These two critical issues of the Hanumante river have posed significant socio-economic challenges/impacts in the livelihood of the people living nearby; majorly by the inundation of the agricultural and settlement area, health hazards associated with pollution of the river, and so on. As such, proper hydrometeorological data are crucial to understand the flood dynamics, propose effective mitigation measures to the associated stakeholders/policymakers, and manage the river in a sustainable manner. There are already four rainfall stations installed by the Department of Hydrology and Meteorology (DHM) in different places of the Hanumante Watershed (Changunarayan, Nangkhel, Nagarkot and Suryabinayak). However, much effort has not been made in the last decade to collect the water level/streamflow/quality data of the Hanumante river. 

Figure 1: A map of the study area (Hanumante watershed) showing monitoring sites (red dots).

Realizing the need for hydrological monitoring in the Hanumante Watershed, Smartphones For Water (S4W-Nepal) has been gathering hydro-meteorological data of the Hanumante river since 2019 with the help of Citizen Scientists (CS) and young researchers. S4W-Nepal has been monitoring the stream water level using staff gauges, and bimonthly stream discharge using Acoustic Doppler Velocimeter at the 12 different sites of the Hanumante river (Figure 1). Along with that, S4W-Nepal has been collecting a few physicochemical water quality parameters such as temperature, pH, Electrical Conductivity (EC), Total Dissolved Solids (TDS), and dissolved oxygen using respective portable water quality meters. Besides, S4W-Nepal in collaboration with the High Powered Committee for Integrated Development of Bagmati Civilization (HPCIDBC) have been monitoring the important water quality parameters, including pH, Turbidity, Total Suspended Solids (TSS), Biological Oxygen Demand (BOD), Chemical Oxygen Demand (COD), Fecal coliform, and total phosphate) from nine different sites of Hanumante river. 

Figure 2: Map showing seasonal discharge (m3/s) in the 12 different sites of the Hanumante river in i) Pre-monsoon, ii) Monsoon, iii) Post-monsoon and, iv) Winter  (2019 to 2021).

Hanumante Watershed receives 80% of total annual rainfall within the monsoon season i.e., June-September. The seasonal variation of streamflow in the Hanumante river from 2019 to 2021 is clearly presented in Figure 2. It is evident that the streamflow in the Hanumante river is majorly dependent upon monsoonal rainfall. The discharge of all three major tributaries is less than 0.2 m3/s in all seasons, which increases to 1.2 m3/s or more after the confluence in monsoon and post-monsoon seasons. However, during pre-monsoon and winter, the discharge of the stream remains moreover constant i.e., less than 0.4 m3/s from upstream to downstream, which is likely due to the insignificant rainfall, extraction of water for irrigation and construction purposes, and groundwater percolation (Wang, 2013). Besides, a recent study has suggested that the estimated return period of the water level of about 3.5m in the Hanumante river is ten years (Kindermaan, 2020).

As per the recent data by HPCIDBC at nine different sites, the overall water quality of Hanumante river in post-monsoon of 2021 was found to be adversely degraded. It was found that the water quality parameters for the majority of sites exceeded the National Water Quality Guidelines for Irrigation Water/Aquaculture. This suggests that the water quality of the Hanumante is not suitable for the irrigational purposes and aquaculture. Further, the sites located in the dense settlement areas of the Bhaktapur district (downstream of Hanumante river) were found to be highly polluted, which might be due to the multiple anthropogenic influences. 

In the coming days, S4W-Nepal intends to continue monitoring the streamflow, water level, and quality even more intensely and generate some meaningful inferences/information, which will support the management of Hanumante river. The regular monitoring of Hanumante river is crucial to determine flood frequency, return level and maximum flood level, which can assist in designing flood mitigation plans, and reducing the dreadful impacts of flooding Moreover, local government/organizations, academic institutions, and responsible authorities should work together with specific goals and plans for better management of the river. The management of the river in a sustainable manner along with local participation should be the utmost priority of all the concerned stakeholders. 


Kindermann, P.E., Brouwer, W.S., van Hamel, A., van Haren, M., Verboeket, R.P., Nane, G.F., Lakhe, H., Prajapati, R. and Davids, J.C.\ (2020) Return level analysis of the hanumante river using structured expert judgment: A reconstruction of historical water levels. Water, 12(11), pp.3229. Available from DOI: 

Prajapati, R., Raj Thapa, B. and Talchabhadel, R (2018) What flooded Bhaktapur? My Republica, 17 July 2018.

Sada, R. (2012) Hanumante River: Emerging uses, competition and implications. Journal of Science and Engineering, 1, pp.17-24.

Wang, S.Y., Yoon, J.H., Gillies, R.R. and Cho, C. (2013) What caused the winter drought in western Nepal during recent years?. Journal of Climate, 26(21), pp.8241-8256.

World Bank (2017) Land Use Planning for Urban Flood Risk Management. Urban Floods Community of Practice Knowledge Notes. The World Bank, 2017.

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