Citizens Drought Reporting

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The Crowdscience project #unserWasser investigates the impact of drought on Germany's water bodies by collecting public observations on drying rivers, lakes and streams.
Involved Organisations:
Publishing Organisation

Safety Innovation Center gGmbH (SIC)





  • Collecting and Analysing Information from SMCS
  • Ensuring Credible Information
  • Mobilising Citizens
Disaster Management Phase

After, Before, During

The #unserWasser Crowdscience project by ARD and SWR (Public service television channels in Germany) investigates the impact of drought on Germany's water bodies. Since March 2022, it has collected nearly 2,400 public observations on drying rivers, lakes, and streams. The data is mapped and analyzed by experts to understand the extent of drought conditions. The initiative highlights that 60% of rivers globally are at least temporarily dry, a condition also affecting Germany. Collected data is displayed on an interactive map until September 2022, allowing citizens to report on depleting water bodies.
What was the overall goal of the Use Case?
The project aims to serve as an early warning system and fill the knowledge gap about Germany's increasingly dry landscape.
What worked well and could be recommended to others?
The gathered data shows a lack of consistent national data on water conditions. The project emphasises that no one really knows what the state of the waters in Germany is and therefore asks for the help of the population. The inclusion of reports from the citizens enables a data collection that can lead to a comprehensive picture of the drought in Germany.
What limitations were identified?

Specific challenges are not reported. However, two challenges are obvious:

  1. the population must be encouraged to participate (which has worked well here through the public television channels (ARD & SWR))
  2. the evaluation of the reports must be very time-consuming and demanding due to free-text answers.
Which social media and crowdsourcing technologies were used?
  • Interactive Map on Website
Which social media platforms were used?
  • X (Twitter)
Which hashtags or keywords were used?