The colour of the water can tell us information about the ecological state of marine and fresh waters and now we can use our mobile phones to make useful measurements of water colour. The European project Citclops developed the Eye on Water app to use globally, but now the Eye on Water Australia app can be used in the Australian region by citizen scientists. These citizen scientist measurements in Australia generate valid data for calibration of satellite information, as well as providing a synoptic overview of rivers, lakes and coastal water quality for natural resource management. In times of flood and fire, these measurements become increasingly important, as we often lack the monitoring programs to assess the spatial and temporal impacts. Each participant will obtain a quantitative understanding of how local water bodies change seasonally and in response to short-duration events like fires, floods and cyclones.
Citizen scientist observations are scientifically important and will be used by CSIRO in monitoring water quality, calibrating satellite images and reporting on the state of the aquatic environment. As an example, the recent unprecedented fires of Eastern Australia, have impacted water quality, through major depositions of ash and fire debris. Through the consolidation of all citizen science observations we will be able to provide natural resource managers, local catchment or coastal groups, with a greater understanding of the temporal water quality dynamics of this ash and fire debris in aquatic systems. For interested participants and groups, the project will fund the supply and training with a Secchi disk and basic water quality test kit to enhances the value of their water colour observations.
Collection of observations on water bodies of all sizes ranging from lakes, rivers, estuaries, and coastal waters. Data is automatically entered into a database and summary information is sent to the citizen observer. The Eye on Water web site is automatically updated with the observations and allows the citizen scientist to compare their measurements with other locations and times. This is very important in monitoring the recovery of regions impacted by bush fires. Our aim is to encourage citizen scientists to go beyond the passive collection of data and to actively engage in an ongoing process of monitoring, documenting, and understanding water quality temporal dynamics at a local scale. Citizen scientists will be providing the project with objective water quality and ecological state data.