Author(s): Daniel Valero; Isabella Schalko; Heide Friedrich; Jorge D. Abad; Daniel B. Bung; Gennadii Donchyts; Stefan Felder; Rui M.L. Ferreira; Benjamin Hohermuth; Matthias Kramer; Danxun Li; Luís Mendes; Antonio Moreno-Rodenas; Michael Nones Paolo Paron; Virginia Ruiz-Villanueva; Ruo-Qian Wang; Mário J. Franca
Keywords: Observation and data; democratization;
Water-related problems affect several billion people’s lives and represent an annual challenge assessed at multitrillion US dollars (WEF 2019), which substantiates their core role in the UN Sustainable Development Goals (UN 2020). Preventing direct and indirect impacts associated with water excess or water scarcity events requires expert judgement based on reliable information. Observations and measurements are fundamental prerequisites for making scientific progress. Measurements may challenge or consolidate theories with empirical evidence. Even the most conservative rationalist rejoices when new observations provide congruent values for the theoretically-driven von Kármán constant. Empiricism is embedded in scientific progress, with the latter intrinsically linked to the development of measuring capabilities. In this White Paper, we provide a community-based discussion of the latest technological developments in flow measurement techniques and instrumentation. We highlight key future developments that contribute to the democratization of hydro-environment observations and data, considering democratization as the transition towards more shared and affordable access to information by the scientific community, stakeholders, and society in general. A natural example of democratization can be found in the increasing application of citizen science to monitor flow and in the emergency response to natural hazards. Nevertheless, many other types of flow observations can also benefit from recent innovations to enhance their accessibility and outreach potential.