Filling the observational void: Scientific value and quantitative validation of hydrometeorological data from a community-based monitoring programme

David Walker*, Nathan Forsythe, Geoff Parkin, John Gowing

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

45 Citations (Scopus)

Abstract

This study shows how community-based hydrometeorological monitoring programmes can provide reliable high-quality measurements comparable to formal observations. Time series of daily rainfall, river stage and groundwater levels obtained by a local community in Dangila woreda, northwest Ethiopia, have passed accepted quality control standards and have been statistically validated against formal sources. In a region of low-density and declining formal hydrometeorological monitoring networks, a situation shared by much of the developing world, community-based monitoring can fill the observational void providing improved spatial and temporal characterisation of rainfall, river flow and groundwater levels. Such time series data are invaluable in water resource assessment and management, particularly where, as shown here, gridded rainfall datasets provide gross under or over estimations of rainfall and where groundwater level data are non-existent. Discussions with the local community during workshops held at the setup of the monitoring programme and since have demonstrated that the community have become engaged in the project and have benefited from a greater hydrological knowledge and sense of ownership of their resources. This increased understanding and empowerment is at the relevant scale required for effective community-based participatory management of shallow groundwater and river catchments.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)713-725
Number of pages13
JournalJournal of Hydrology
Volume538
DOIs
Publication statusPublished - Jul 2016
Externally publishedYes

Keywords

  • Citizen science
  • Ethiopia
  • Hydrometeorology
  • Local data gaps
  • Quantitative validation
  • Water resource assessment

Fingerprint Dive into the research topics of 'Filling the observational void: Scientific value and quantitative validation of hydrometeorological data from a community-based monitoring programme'. Together they form a unique fingerprint.

Cite this