At the beginning of this week almost 100 ‘temporary water researchers’ gathered together in Oss to launch the 4th citizen science project for water companies. Last month the Limburg citizen science project relating to calcium deposits concluded successfully and now it’s the turn of Brabant Water customers to measure the hardness of their tap water. During the gathering the citizen scientists were given their test packs, measuring instructions and they learned about the production of drinking water and the background to citizen science. The other projects focussed on the microbiological stability of water, lead and calcium deposits however this study focuses primarily on the hardness of the drinking water.
This study by Brabant Water and KWR involves more than 160 customers measuring the hardness of their drinking water. This study is unique, in that the participants are being asked to undertake multiple measurements over a period of six months. Drinking water customers have never been asked to become involved like this before. It is also unusual that citizen scientists have been invited personally (randomised), which means a diverse group of customers has joined this study. In addition to a more refined measuring network, this will also provide new insights about the social-scientific value and significance of citizen science and the influence of study participation on perception and behaviour. For example, we will be studying the degree to which customers adapt their use of detergents to the changing water hardness. The project will be evaluated in detail and concluded in spring 2018.