Freetown, July 24 –The National Water Resources Management Agency (NWRMA) and Groundwater Relief (GWR), a British water charity organization have today signed a memorandum of understanding, which marks the start of collaborations to support their mutual interests in implementing a pilot of a citizen science project.
The project involves the use of a community engagement study approach in riverine and other areas within the country, plus the use of a mobile app to monitor surface and groundwater levels and report handpump issues in its areas of implementation. This initiative will go a long way in understanding the behaviour of our surface and groundwater bodies in an almost real-time and state-of-the-art fashion.
The project which would be implemented by NWRMA and GWR will gain collective knowledge (at scientific and socio-technological levels) to better manage groundwater sources by enabling an in-field trial of the phone app and supplementary tools with its intended end-users.
GWR is partnering with the (Action research and Critical Inquiry in Organisations (ARCIO), within the Bristol School of Management and beyond. This is an interdisciplinary research centre, which brings together a network of scholars committed to researching in organizations and communities in participative and/or capacity-building ways. During the project implementation, it is expected that Ground Water Relief (GWR), also representing Bristol University will develop, fund, and provide the phone app; share collected data with NWRMA, ideally through agreed secure means; provide training to citizen scientists; and compile a report on lessons learned.
NWRMA on the other hand would select suitable sites for the study; select citizen scientists within pilot areas to participate in the training who have smartphones (with Google Play or App Store available); enable GWR access to the NWRMA database so that a method of data transfer from a phone app to a database can be established; contribute to the facilitation of training sessions; facilitate logistical support like transportation, meeting venues, etc; store data and provide feedback on the progress of the project.
The NWRMA was established by Act No. 5 of parliament in 2017, to protect, manage and regulate surface and groundwater resources in Sierra Leone with an overall vision of becoming one of the leading water resources management Agencies in West Africa. The Agency is responsible for granting water rights, water resources allotment among competing users, formulation of regulatory measures, information/data collection and sharing on water resources, with a view also to controlling pollution. Transboundary water resource issues also fall under the mandate of the Agency.
GWR is registered with the UK Charity Commission as a Charitable Incorporated Organisation (Registration No. 1167458). GWR provides technical support to organisations engaged in supplying water to the world’s poorest and most vulnerable people. Through a global membership of over 400 technical experts, GWR helps organisations construct and manage groundwater infrastructure in a professional, responsible, cost-effective, and sustainable way, engaging local authorities, companies, and institutions.
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