EWI Citizen Science project 'Stiemerlab' (Research)
The sewerage system and the increasing urban expansion have a negative impact on water quality (pollution, algae formation) and biodiversity in the Stiemerbeek and its valley. The 'Stiemerlab' project engages Genk citizens, neighbors, and local stakeholders to identify and tackle water quality issues. The main research question of this study is how to gain insight into the spatial pattern and the impact of the overflows on the Stiemerbeek and its surroundings through real-time monitoring of physical-chemical parameters (e.g. pH, temperature, metals) and the related biological indicators of the water quality? The project objectives include both the collection of new data to increase scientific knowledge (1); to raise awareness among the general public (2); and education about the overflow problem and how to limit it (3). The project actively involves local citizens and stakeholders in the monitoring of the physical-chemical and microbiological indicators of water quality, among other things by training them as citizen scientists to collect real-time data on the physical-chemical water quality in the Stiemerbeek using sensors. In addition, citizens also participate in mapping the biological water quality at various locations: the urbanized environment in Genk, overflow sites, nature reserve (Natura2000 in De Maten), mine subsidence (Schansbroek / Waterschei). In order to answer the research question, the data obtained will be collected and visualized to a wide audience through an open online platform, physical interventions in the Stiemer Valley and various Stiemer sessions.
Period of project
01 January 2020 - 31 December 2021