A low-cost digital colorimetry setup to investigate the relationship between water color and its chemical composition

Ruosha Zeng*, C.M. Mannaerts, Zhehai Shang

*Corresponding author for this work

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleAcademicpeer-review

3 Citations (Scopus)
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Developments in digital image acquisition technologies and citizen science lead to more water color observations and broader public participation in environmental monitoring. However, the implications of the use of these simple water color indices for water quality assessment have not yet been fully evaluated. In this paper, we build a low-cost digital camera colorimetry setup to investigate quantitative relationships between water color indices and concentrations of optically active constituents (OACs). As proxies for colored dissolved organic matter (CDOM) and phytoplankton, humic acid and algae pigments were used to investigate the relationship between water chromaticity and concentration. We found that the concentration fits an ascending relationship with xy chromaticity values and a descending relationship with hue angle. Our investigations permitted us to increase the information content of simple water color observations, by relating them to chemical constituent concentrations in observed waters.
Original languageEnglish
Article number6699
Pages (from-to)1-11
Number of pages11
Issue number20
Publication statusPublished - 9 Oct 2021


  • Water quality
  • Hydrochemistry
  • Citizen science
  • Smart phone

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