Smart groundwater sensors

Enschede has a groundwater problem. It has received ample attention in the local media. Moist basements cause health problems, material damage and rising tension between affected homeowners and the municipality. The nuisance occurs at various locations throughout the city, making it difficult for the authorities to implement appropriate measures. The city has a complex composite soil and, as a result, it is unknown how the groundwater behaves. The municipality frequently states that more research is needed, while victims ask for interventions.

In short

  • Moist basements, health problems, material damage and rising tensions because of groundwater problems.
  • Various parties collaborate in a ‘Citizen Science Pilot’ to develop solutions for the groundwater problems

Global Goal

global goal icon

Enschede, therefore, took a new approach to solve the groundwater problems: citizens will measure their groundwater level themselves. The Citizen Science Pilot Grounwater is coordinated by the DesignLab of the University of Twente, in collaboration with, among others, Hogeschool Saxion. The first measuring tubes were installed in October 2018 at eleven households. This year, smart open source sensors will be added. Using the Internet of Things, they give insight into the groundwater levels.


Participants can see their water level using their phone or tablet, and exchange experiences among not only themselves but also the project partners during three meetings. A public closing event is planned for 2019, making it possible to include other interested parties in the project results.

Smart citizens

Measuring with citizens is a whole new approach to the groundwater problem. Governments are provided with new forms of data, making it possible to develop new approaches to solving the problem. Citizens are enabled to discover the possibilities and limitations of new technologies and can use it however they like. They truly become smart citizens. It is interesting for knowledge institutions to investigate how participation and well-being in the city are influenced. Also, for companies, a new market is emerging: easily accessible consumer versions of sensors that are currently only used professionally.

Twente47,  the City of Enschedethe University of TwenteSaxion University of Applied SciencesWaterschap Vechtstromen, the Things Network and Levellog took the initiative in this pilot. The consortium wants to map the groundwater problem better. They do this by developing an environment that enables citizens to generate, collect and visualise groundwater data with a low threshold.

Date: 7 February 2019 |

Source of tekst: The University of Twente |