Climate change and risks 2 min

The launch of the first open-source smartphone application to monitor drying events in river networks

PRESS RELEASE - River networks are among Earth’s most threatened hotspots of biodiversity and are essential for human wellbeing. Climate change and increasing human water use are causing more rivers and streams to dry, but these drying river networks have received little attention. DRYvER is a Horizon 2020 project which will collect, analyse and model data from drying river networks across two continents—Europe and South America—to create a novel global meta-system approach that incorporates hydrology, socioeconomics, ecology and biogeochemistry in order to craft strategies, tools, guidelines, and recommendations for adaptive management of river networks.

Published on 28 September 2021

illustration The launch of the first open-source smartphone application to monitor drying events in river networks
© INRAE - B. Launay

Citizens can play a major role in helping scientists to understand drying river networks, by reporting drying events in rivers and streams. To do so, DRYvER has created the DRYRivERS app, which citizens can use to map drying events. The collected data will improve scientific predictions of the future impacts of climate change in these ecosystems. Moreover, DRYRivERS will raise awareness of the importance of drying events in river networks.

Every smartphone user who enjoys nature and the outdoors can contribute by documenting wet and dry conditions in streams and rivers using the DRYRivERS app, which is available on Google Play and App Store, links available directly from the project website ( The app is open-source and easy to use. All you need to do is add (1) the location of the river site; (2) the in-channel conditions i.e., whether the channel contains flowing water, disconnected standing pools or is dry; and (3) a photo of the site. You can use your phone’s GPS to determine your location, or you can find existing spots on the map. The app caches all necessary data when it is running with Wi-Fi or mobile internet, so do not worry if you have no network coverage while finding a dry stream. After you record a new spot, you can simply save it and upload the information later once a network connection is again available.

All the observations made by citizens with the DRYRivERS app will be openly accessible and visualized on DRYvER website (  

Using DRYRivERS will generate the first network of real-time observations of drying events across rivers and streams. Ultimately, a European atlas of drying river networks will be created, including all observations from DRYRivERS, as well as other sources. In turn, this information will inform the development of models that anticipate the effects of climate change on streams and rivers.

To upload freely the DRYrivERS app:

On Google Play and AppStore

Or on the website of the project:

More information on the video (English subtitles) :

This project has received funding from the European Union’s Horizon 2020 research and innovation programme under grant agreement n°869226


INRAE Press Office

Scientific contact

Thibault Datry management and restoration of river systems and their catchments (RiverLy)



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