Our Team

S4W = Young Researchers + Mobile Technology + Citizen Science

In the coming years SmartPhone technology will change the way hydrologic data is collected, transmitted, and utilized.  SmartPhones4Water aims to link these technological advancements with young researchers and citizen scientists to (1) improve lives by strengthening our understanding and management of water, while at the same time (2) improving the quality of young researchers’ outputs, and (3) the connectedness between communities and their water resources. Our team has a rich and diverse range of technical, social, and entrepreneurial skills and experience to bring to the table to ensure that our vision becomes a reality.

Among others, Our Team has consulted for the United Nations Food and Agriculture Organization (UN-FAO), several large irrigation and water districts in the Western US; county, state, and federal resource agencies in California; renewable energy startups in Thailand; and other water resource managers in South Asia, North and South America, Africa, and beyond.


Citizen Scientists (You!)About_CS

The most important part of our team is you, the citizen scientists and supporters that make everything we do possible!

Rajaram PrajapatiAbout_Rajaram

Rajaram Prajapati is Chief Executive Officer of Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal). He completed his M.Sc. in Water Resources Engineering from the Institute of Engineering, Pulchowk Campus in Kathmandu, Nepal. Mr. Prajapati has two years teaching experience in hydropower and irrigation engineering as an assistant lecturer in Khwopa Engineering College. Rajaram’s primary interests include groundwater modelling, traditional water management system and river basin management. Rajaram is currently leading a citizen-science based project in the Kathmandu valley. Besides, he is also involved in research on “Traditional Water Management System (Hiti system) of the Kathmandu Valley” and “Assessment of groundwater level variations (temporal and spatial) of the Kathmandu valley.” Mr. Prajapati is representing Nepal in CitizenScience.Asia as a country ambassador. Rajaram has always had a passion for research in these areas, and is excited to be part of the S4W team!

Surabhi Upadhyay

Surabhi is a B.Sc. Environmental Science (Hons.) graduate from Naya Aayam Multidisciplinary Institute (NAMI), Kathmandu. Being an environmental science student, she has a keen interest in research that is connected to the welfare of the environment. After working as a citizen scientist for a year in S4W-Nepal, she found her interest and passion in the sustainable water management field. Her active involvement in generating daily precipitation and monthly groundwater measurement in the past few years has shaped her belief that our connection with water is much deeper than we realize. She currently works as a ‘Research Associate’ at S4W-Nepal and is both excited and enthusiastic to analyze how these data generated by citizen scientists can help towards managing water resources sustainably. She is fascinated by the citizen science approach of S4W-Nepal and feels lucky to be surrounded by like-minded people who work together for sustainable water resource management.

Sudeep Duwal

Sudeep Duwal is working as a ‘Research Assistant’ in Smartphones For Water Nepal (S4W-Nepal). He is a recent B.Sc. Environmental Science graduate from Khwopa College, Bhaktapur. Previously, he was involved in the water, health, and sanitation (WASH) sector as a volunteer and in the vermicomposting sector as an entrepreneur. Through S4W-Nepal, he aims to extend his knowledge in the water sector, expand his research skills, and know more about the citizen scientist approach. Working in S4W-Nepal, he understood both challenges and opportunities in water resource management in the Kathmandu Valley and is now curious to know how the data generated by citizen scientists can be helpful for sustainable water management.

Umesh Sejwal

Umesh has recently completed his Bachelor’s in Business Studies from Adarsha Azad College, Bhaktapur affiliated to Tribhuvan University. He is currently working as a Admin and Finance Officer at S4W-Nepal. He has three years of teaching experience at Ganesh Secondary School, Bhaktapur. He is currently working as a Logistics Assistant at S4W-Nepal and is very interested in logistic related works. He has good communication skills and has a keen interest in research too. He has fine managerial skills and aims to become a great manager in the future. He is happy and excited to be surrounded by people who work for the welfare of the environment, mainly water resources, and realizes environmental protection as his major responsibility as a citizen.

Priya Silwal

Priya is a final year student of B.Sc. (Hons.) Environmental Science at Naya Aayam Multidisciplinary Institute (NAMI), Nepal. She is fiercely passionate about improving the state of water resources and is highly dedicated to this goal. She has served as a volunteer in WEPCO and worked as an editor in Resource Himalaya Foundation. She is currently working as a ‘Research Assistant’ at S4W-Nepal and is interested to know how the citizen scientists can be utilized to fulfil the gap in hydrological data. Working in S4W-Nepal, she found her keen interest in groundwater resources and is planning to do her final year project on groundwater quality assessment. She feels very fortunate to be a part of the talented team focused on sustainable management of water resources.

Hanik Lakhe

Hanik is a third-year student of the BSc. Environmental Science at Khwopa College, Bhaktapur. He worked as a citizen scientist at S4W-Nepal collecting daily precipitation data and also monthly traditional hiti system(wells, pond and stone taps) measurements. With time, he realized the true value of water resources and has developed a keen interest and passion for understanding the traditional hiti system, groundwater resources, and other water-related themes. He is currently working as a ‘Research Assistant’ at S4W-Nepal and is amazed to see how normal people are trained and inspired to collect hydro-meteorological data. He is very excited and eager to see how these citizen science-based data collected help common citizens’ to understand the water related issues and supports water managers to solve these critical problems. He has a deep interest in the research mainly on water resources and is pleased to be a part of S4W Nepal.

Amber Bahadur Thapa

Amber is a first-year student at M.Sc. in Environmental Science from Tribhuvan University, Nepal. Amber did his Bachelor’s project in groundwater quality analysis. Since then, he has been deeply interested in learning more about groundwater. In his view, water is an essential commodity and its measurement is a must. Amber is interested in Environmentalism and Social work, and believes that travelling and research can be wonderfully expressed in this space. He has been involved in projects like Initial Environmental Examination of different Hydropower projects of the country, Earthquake relief programs, and others. In the coming days, Amber is excited to see how the data generated through the help of citizen scientists will help solve our most pressing water management issues.

S4W (CA based)

Jeff DavidsAbout_Jeff_Davids

Jeff is founder and president of SmartPhones4Water and H2oTech, a PhD researcher at Delft University of Technology, and a water resources engineer for Davids Engineering. Jeff has a B.S. in General Engineering from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo, a M.S. in Geosciences from CSU Chico with an emphasis in Hydrogeology, and is a registered Professional Civil Engineer in California. Jeff has over 10 years of experience as a Water Resources Engineer and has successfully completed a diverse range of projects in the western U.S. and abroad. Jeff’s interests include the Water-Energy-Food (Environment) nexus, the characterization of stream-aquifer interactions, groundwater modeling, fluid mechanics and flow measurement, and innovative solutions for environmental monitoring challenges.

Brandon Ertisbrandon-ertis

Brandon Ertis is a licensed professional engineer in the state of California and has a Bachelor of Science in Civil Engineering from UC Davis and a Master of Science in Environmental Science from CSU Chico. He has over six years of experience working with water resources and water management in California, including agricultural water management, abandoned mine remediation, environmental monitoring, and flow measurement. He also has experience working in cross-cultural settings through participation and collaboration on projects based in Kenya and Nepal. He has a strong interest in how wise stewardship of natural resources, innovative technologies, and creative solutions can be used to better understand and manage water resources and improve people’s quality of life in locations around the world ranging from his home in northern California to places abroad.

Kristi DavidsK_Davids

Kristi graduated from Cal Poly San Luis Obispo with a B.A. in English, and minors in Spanish and Linguistics.  She has worked at the ground level of several successful businesses, and has a wide range of entrepreneurial and social talents.  In addition to her vision casting role at SmartPhones4Water, Kristi currently raises three wonderful children, teaches Spanish to elementary school children, and manages sales and accounting for H2oTech.

Tyler Spangler                       tyler (1)

Tyler has a B.S. in Civil Engineering from CSU Chico and currently working on his masters in Hydrogeology. Tyler has 5 years of working experience on federal construction projects, dealing in water runoff and as an assistant engineer designing grades to manage overland runoff. He is excited to join like-minded people in the pursuit to better monitor and manage water resources.


Advisory Board

Nick van de GiesenN_van_de_Giesen

Nick van de Giesen received his B.S. and M.Sc. degrees in Land and Water Management from Wageningen Agricultural University, The Netherlands, in 1984 and 1987, respectively, and his Ph.D. degree in Agricultural and Biological Engineering from Cornell University, Ithaca, NY, in 1994.  After a postdoctoral position with the West Africa Rice Development Association, Côte d’Ivoire, he was a Senior Researcher for six years with the Center for Development Research (ZEF), University of Bonn, Germany, where he was Scientific Coordinator of the Global Change in the Hydrological Cycle Volta Project. Since 2004, he has been with Delft University of Technology, The Netherlands, where he holds the “Van Kuffeler” Chair of Water Resources Management. Since April 2009, he is chairman of the Delft Research Initiative Environment.  In 2011 he was science representative in “Topteam Water”, which advised the Dutch government on innovation in the water sector.  He has co-developed two spin-off companies.  He is member of several national and international  scientific advisory boards.

Steve LyonSteve_200x300

Steve Lyon completed his doctoral work at the Department of Biological and Environmental Engineering at Cornell University in 2006 with a dissertation entitled Incorporating the spatial structure of shallow water tables into hydrology. Steve continued with postdoctoral research at the University of Arizona focusing on the evolution of land-water interaction in space and time. Following that work, he joined the Department of Physical Geography at Stockholm University where he promoted to Professor in 2016 and maintains an active research group. In addition, he is currently working as a Freshwater Scientist with The Nature Conservancy exploring how we can target and prioritize conservation efforts along river networks to re-connect floodplains thereby promoting ecosystem functionality and benefits for both upstream and downstream communities. Throughout his career, Steve’s work has combined innovative approaches to isolate hydrological processes and engage people across scales with the hope to improve the representation of societal interaction with water resources. It is only through such refinement of process understanding that we can improve our resource management in the face of coupled climate and land-use change.

Martine Ruttenourteam_martine

Martine Rutten investigates how information systems (combination of models, remote sensing, and ground data) can effectively support adaptive delta and water management in developing countries. Key elements of this research include developing systems together with local parties and providing actionable perspectives. Case studies of this work are underway in Vietnam, Myanmar, and Nepal. Work includes inclusive development paths for Red River Landscapes based on ecosystem services reservoirs management for the Day River, a Red River sub-basin reservoir management for flood control in the Sittaung-Bago River in Myanmar-Coastal squeeze in the Ayarawady delta analyzed from remote sensing.  Martine is also currently advising students at universities in Vietnam (HUNRE, Hanoi), Kenya (SEKU), Armenia, Georgia (TSU), Azerbaijan, Myanmar (YTU) on  the development and improvement of water management curricula at undergraduate and graduate level.  Martine is also developing entrepreneurship courses for TU Delft, HRO and, UNESCO-IHE for the Valorisatie programma Delta technology en Water (VPDelta).