Mountains in the Chaning World, Mountains in the Chaning World

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Identifying the relationship between rainfall-runoff, water quality and land use while facilitating citizen science
Jasper Alexander Schakel

Last modified: 2017-08-29


By Lisa Verschuren, Sylvia van Doorn, Nikiforos Koliolios, Jasper Schakel, Ingo van Lohuizen and Margot Haitsma Mulier

Category: Soil, water, and atmospheric research

Keywords: citizen science, hydrology, water quality & land-use

Kathmandu is an excellent example of a city that outgrew its water resources. The residents are dealing with water scarcities since groundwater levels are dropping. The only water the system of Kathmandu Valley receives is in the form of precipitation and storage in groundwater. A better understanding of the hydrological system and surface water quality is necessary, and thus more detailed data on the matter is needed.

Land-use can greatly influence the system and the corresponding water quality. With satellite maps, three types of land-use (urban, agricultural and natural) have been identified and at three sites measurements were done.

We used hydrograph separation in order to identify and establish the rainfall-runoff relationship at every place with tracer experiments to determine the ratio between groundwater and precipitation in the surface water.  A model that can predict the rainfall-runoff ratio with the use of parameters like land-use, slope, and precipitation is developed.

At the same locations, surface water quality was examined in more depth. A number of parameters (pH, Temperature, Electric conductivity, Dissolved Oxygen, Turbidity, Iron, Nitrate, Nitrite and Phosphate) were measured in situ, to collect data before, during and after a rainfall event and also during dry periods.

Great opportunities for citizen science exist since making use of this method can ensure consistent data collection. The ultimate goal of this research is to establish a relationship between the different water parameters and to ensure consistent data collection, eventually facilitating citizen science data collections.

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