WHAT IS CITIZEN SCIENCE

Citizen science (CS; also known as community science, crowd science, crowd-sourced science, civic science, volunteer monitoring, or online citizen science) is scientific research conducted, in whole or in part, by amateur (or nonprofessional) scientists. Citizen science is sometimes described as "public participation in scientific research", participatory monitoring, and participatory action research whose outcomes are often advancements in scientific research, as well as an increase in the public’s understanding of science (source: Wikipedia). 

Please find below a video of citizen scientists in action. Video Source: (CIFOR)

ESGUSA in Hout Catchment, Limpopo Basin, South Africa

BACKGROUND

Groundwater is an increasingly important source of water supply for agriculture, households, and industry. Generally, groundwater is naturally protected against pollution, can be exploited anywhere depending on the local conditions, and has a year-round availability. With population growth and increasing climate variability, groundwater plays an increasingly important role in the Republic of South Africa (RSA) to enhance water and food security. More than 50% of communities in RSA, especially living in the arid and semi-arid areas, depend on groundwater for their domestic and livelihood needs. However, with increasing pressure on groundwater and intensive land-use, the resource is vulnerable to depletion and degradation. This is compounded by limited capacity and inadequate resources allocated to its protection and sustainable management. Intensification of use and poor management potentially leads to adverse impacts on ecosystems, water access, human health, and agricultural production.

CITIZEN SCIENCE AND CAPACITATING LOCAL STAKEHOLDERS

Citizen science shall be implemented by:

  • Training and equipping local stakeholders to collect essential temporal data for the assessments, like groundwater levels, stream flow and rainfall;

  • Monitoring via citizen science; and

  • Capacitating local stakeholders in the management of groundwater and conjunctive use of surface and groundwater, and adapting to climate change. This will be partly based on modelling results and done in an interactive manner, encouraging lesson sharing and development of joint management solutions .