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Mitigating flood risk using low-cost sensors and citizen science: A proof-of-concept study from western Nepal

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Title: Mitigating flood risk using low-cost sensors and citizen science: A proof-of-concept study from western Nepal
Authors: Pandeya, B
Uprety, M
Paul, JD
Sharma, RR
Dugar, S
Buytaert, W
Item Type: Journal Article
Abstract: The generation of hydrological data for accurate flood predictions requires robust and, ideally, dense monitoring systems. This requirement is challenging in locations such as the Himalayas, which are characterised by unpredictable hydroclimatic behaviour with dramatic small‐scale spatial and temporal variability. River level monitoring sensors that are affordable and easy‐to‐operate could support flood risk management activities in the region. We therefore identify potential for a local participatory monitoring network that also serve to overcome existing data gaps, which represent the main bottleneck for establishing an effective community‐based flood early‐warning system. We have applied a citizen science‐based hydrological monitoring approach in which we tested low‐cost river level sensors. Initial results, collected over summer 2017 from two stations on the River Karnali, suggest that our system can successfully be operated by non‐scientists, producing river level data that match those obtained from an adjacent government‐operated high‐tech radar sensor. We discuss potential opportunities to integrate these low‐cost sensors into existing hydrological monitoring practice. Combined with an adaptive, community‐led approach to resilience building, we argue that our low‐cost sensing technology has the potential not only to increase spatial network coverage in data‐scarce regions, but also to empower and educate local stakeholders to build flood resilience.
Issue Date: Mar-2021
Date of Acceptance: 27-Oct-2020
URI: http://hdl.handle.net/10044/1/85097
DOI: 10.1111/jfr3.12675
ISSN: 1753-318X
Publisher: Wiley Open Access
Start Page: 1
End Page: 13
Journal / Book Title: Journal of Flood Risk Management
Volume: 14
Issue: 1
Copyright Statement: © 2020 The Authors. Journal of Flood Risk Management published by Chartered Institution of Water and Environmental Management and John Wiley & Sons Ltd. This is an open access article under the terms of the Creative Commons Attribution License, which permits use, distribution and reproduction in any medium, provided the original work is properly cited.
Sponsor/Funder: Natural Environment Research Council (NERC)
Economic & Social Research Council (ESRC)
Funder's Grant Number: ESPA/ROF/2016-17/01
Keywords: Science & Technology
Life Sciences & Biomedicine
Physical Sciences
Environmental Sciences
Water Resources
Environmental Sciences & Ecology
citizen science
early warning system
flood risk mitigation
cost sensors
resilience building
0799 Other Agricultural and Veterinary Sciences
Publication Status: Published
Article Number: ARTN e12675
Online Publication Date: 2020-11-15
Appears in Collections:Civil and Environmental Engineering
Centre for Environmental Policy
Grantham Institute for Climate Change
Faculty of Natural Sciences
Faculty of Engineering

This item is licensed under a Creative Commons License Creative Commons