Meuse 2018 - Results

This is a glimpse of world’s first citizen science of water quality of an entire river.

This so-called baseline study of the river Meuse was made during a 1061 km walk from source to sea that lasted from 16 May – 15 July 2018. Li An’s 60-days walk experienced only two rain days (with thunderstorms), it was an uncommonly dry Spring-Summer, with high temperatures in air and water. Every 15 to 20 km, results were generated by a total of 500 local people, predominantly children.

Every day, local people and Li An measured:

  1. chemical properties (temperature, pH, dissolved oxygen and oxygen saturation, turbidity);
  2. conductivity (salts);
  3. E-coli bacteria;
  4. heavy metals.

At times, we looked at what fauna lived here.

With the support of several professional partners, hundreds of Meuse angels, and thousands of supporters and followers, and despite a zero-budget, the walk and research was realised.

This is a first insight of the river data collected by local people. Step by step, we will continue to visualise the data. We will grow this local people-led research by this year’s results of the Meuse; of new entries from across Europe this Summer, and hopefully next year the first results collected by local people in China.


The results of the citizen science is adopted in the database of TU Delft WaterLab consortium. Upcoming Summer, WaterLab supports the broadening of the research to other rivers in Europe. The data will also be shared with the database of EarthEcho (USA) and MyH2O (China).

Special thanks to my partners 2018
WaterLab consortium TU Delft – Sandra de Vries & Marit Boogert and partners Hoogheemraadschap Delfland, Ka Chun Lui and Marcel van der Kruk; KWR Gertjan Medema: research preparation and finalisation; E.coli data analysis; WaterLab database visualisation. Wageningen University – Environmental Technology (ETE), Professor Cees Buisman, Miriam van Eekert, lab colleagues: heavy metals analyses. Earth Echo – Philippe Cousteau, Sean Russell: basic kit, share data in their database. RIWA-Maas – Maarten van der Ploeg and André Bannink: Hanna instrument. IVN – fishing net + fauna cards + events with schools and volunteers. EPAMA – Blanca Linz: great support and connections in France & Wallonia e.g. mayors, schools, fishermen, farmers. Thomas Rossi and Merel Wallis de Vries – Drinkable Rivers database visualisation.