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Scientists and citizens unite against river drought

An app to warn about the lack of water in rivers seeks to encourage citizens to collaborate with scientists in the search for solutions to a growing problem in Latin America.

DRYRivERS was developed as part of an international project that will study the effects of climate change on ecosystems in drying river networks. Thus, researchers will be able to compare the reactions of biodiversity to droughts between Europe and South America, and develop models that anticipate the effects of climate change on rivers and streams.

In the first phase of the project, scientists are collecting data in the nine countries hosting the case studies: six Europeans (Croatia, Czech Republic, Finland, France, Hungary and Spain) and three South Americans (Bolivia, Brazil and Ecuador)

On the other hand, the app is now available for citizens of 177 countries to provide their own records.

The resulting information will generate a map that -combined with hydrology tools- will allow the modeling of water use projects, which in turn will serve to identify upcoming river drying events. SciDev.Net Amélie Truchy, design supervisor at application .

Thus, management strategies and recommendations for water networks in crisis can be developed.

Exploring the responses of river networks that can be found in a variety of climates, biogeographic contexts, and socio-ecological settings is vital to dealing with the similarities and contrasts in terms of community and ecosystem responses.”Says Amélie Truchy, ​​design supervisor of the DRYRivER app.

App, app, drought, rivers, environmental monitoring
Parana River. Historic descent in Goya, Corrientes, Argentina. August 2021.

Rivers act as ecological corridors for species and protect biodiversity, connecting terrestrial and aquatic ecosystems. They also provide drinking water and food, and in favor of climate regulation, remember those responsible for DRYRivERS.

However, more than half of the world’s river network has channels that are drying up, a share that is increasing dramatically due to climate change and increased water use.

South America “It hosts nearly 30 percent of global freshwater resources, but is highly vulnerable to climate change: 40 percent of the Earth is subject to desertification”, says Truchy.

The situation of surface water has worsened in recent decades, in terms of quantity and quality.”, confirms via WhatsApp Miguel Doria, responsible for Latin America at Intergovernmental Hydrological Program UNESCO, which is not part of the project.

The main causes include population growth in the region (from 430 million in 1950 to 660 million today), changes in land use (deforestation and consequent erosion, with more sediment in the rivers) and the excessive use of chemicals and plastics.

Discover the App here

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