Sado river estuary areas (Portugal)

Type/s of pollution

Water pollution

Sustainable Development Goals addressed?

Number of citizens scientists involved


The pilot was concluded in September 2021.

What was this project about?

“Water sentinels” was a community project that empowered people from coastal communities to play a role as citizen scientists for water quality. This project was rooted in a wider aim: the conservation and restoration of seagrass meadows in the Sado Estuary area (Portugal).

The pilot engaged 5 citizens from the fishing community to detect pollution events (historical and current) that may have been failing to be detected with the current water monitoring networks. Through dedicated training, participants collected data on water quality in the Sado estuary. These data was made available to the public through the OceanAlive website and the COASTNET geoportal. Two scientific partners were involved in this pilot: Centre for Energy and Research (CINEA, Polytechnic Institute of Setúbal) and MARE Marine and Environmental Research Centre (University of Lisbon).

Together with historical information obtained from questionnaires, “Water sentinels” provided valuable information to researchers, managers and decision-makers.

The project also engaged relevant stakeholders in a water quality workshop. A community guide for water quality assessment, a layman’s report and a video were produced as tools to enhance engagement and participation of other community members on water quality assessment.

Pilot’s media