Citizen science for hydrological risk reduction and resilience building

Authors Paul, J.D.; Buytaert, W.; Allen, S.; Ballesteros-Canovas, J.A.; Bhusal, J.; Cieslik, K.; Clark, J.; Dugar, S.; Hannah, D.M.; Stoffel, M.; Dewulf, A.; Dhital, M.R.; Liu, W.; Nayaval, J.Lal; Neupane, B.; Schiller, A.; Smith, P.J.; Supper, R.
Year of Publication 2018
Type of Publication Journal Article
Journal Wiley Interdisciplinary Reviews: Water
Volume 5
Issue 1725
Open Access Yes


In disaster risk management (DRM), an emerging shift has been noted from broad-scale, top-down assessmentstoward more participatory, community-based, bottom-up approaches. Arguably, nonscientist local stakeholders have always played animportant role in knowledge risk management and resilience building within ahydrological context, such asflood response and drought alleviation. However, rap-idly developing information and communication technologies such as the Internet,smartphones, and social mediahave already demonstrated their sizeable potential tomake knowledge creation more multidirectional, decentralized, diverse, and inclusive.Combined with technologies for robust and low-cost sensor networks, a‘citizen sci-ence’approach has recently emerged as a promising direction in the provision ofextensive, real-time information for risk management. Such projects work best whenthere is community buy-in, when their purpose(s) are clearly defined at the outset,and when the motivations and skillsets of allparticipants and stakeholders are wellunderstood. They have great potential to enhance knowledge creation, not only fordata collection, but also for analysis or interpretation. In addition, they can serve as ameans of educating and empowering communities and stakeholders that arebypassed by more traditional knowledge generation processes. Here, we review thestate-of-the-art of citizen science within the context of hydrological risk reduction andresilience building. Particularly when embedded within a polycentric approachtoward risk governance, we argue that citizen science could complement more tradi-tional knowledge generation practices, and also enhance innovation, adaptation, mul-tidirectional information provision, riskmanagement, and local resilience building.