New groundwater monitoring tool wins prize at World Water Week

Topping off a successful week at Stockholm World Water Week 2015, Patrick Thomson and colleagues from the Department of Engineering Science won the prize for the best poster, which presented an innovative new approach to measuring shallow groundwater level using community handpumps.


Using data generated by a low-cost accelerometer fitted to community handpumps, the team has used machine learning methods to measure the groundwater level beneath pumps.

While currently at the proof-of-concept stage, the implications of this work are far-reaching. At scale, the tool could transform the thousands of handpumps across Africa into a large-scale, distributed network for monitoring groundwater supplies, in a continent where there is very little data.

The need for information on the state of groundwater is becoming ever more important in the face of climate change, as groundwater resources may help buffer against changes in rainfall and surface water flows.

The research project is a collaboration between the Smith School of Environment and Enterprise and the Computational Health Informatics Lab in the Department of Engineering Science.

See the electronic poster

Read the briefing note Distributed Monitoring of Shallow Aquifer Level using Community Handpumps