Get Involved

If you’re interested in collecting rainfall data you can get involved in a couple of ways

In addition to the automated rain gauges, SEPA also manages a network of volunteers who collect daily rainfall data. They are known as rainfall observers and play an important part in collecting rainfall data in Scotland.

We currently have 136 members of the public that volunteer as rainfall observers. Each day at 9am our volunteers measure and record the accumulated rainfall from their gauge. At the end of every month they submit their data to us for processing and entry into our databases and the Met Office national archive.

Find out more about what our rainfall observers do and watch one of our rainfall observers in action.

If you would like to volunteer as a rainfall observer or would like further information please contact us or visit the citizens science rainfall observers portal.

There is now a new rainfall data entry portal – Citizen science rainfall observers’ portal - that means anyone that is interested in collecting rainfall data can get involved even if they can’t meet the criteria that is required from our official rainfall observers.

The portal is available through Scotland’s Environment website and is open to any person, school or organisation that observes rainfall or who wants to start observing. Once registered you can start collecting and entering your data straight away.

Your data will be accessible to view or download through the portal and will automatically be sent to the Met Office WOW database for use in a number of real time applications, including helping SEPA in relation to flood risk management.

Check out our top tips for help getting started as a citizen science rainfall observer.

Our hydrologists use the data collected from the network of automated rain gauges to help make decisions about water resource management and flood forecasting.

The data also feeds into the Met Office’s national rainfall archive. This archive is used by government bodies, industry and researchers to inform weather and flood forecasting, long-term climate research and water resource management.

  1. When choosing your rain gauge, make sure the gauge has the capacity to record an equivalent rainfall depth of at least 100mm. There are lots of suppliers online but a good example would be the Remex rain gauge.
  2. Ideally, your rain gauge should be positioned on the ground in a flat open area, such as a lawn, away from trees and tall structures that might shadow your gauge. It’s also an idea to put it in an area away from pets and children, who can sometimes compromise accumulation.
  3. If it’s not possible to meet the ideal conditions described above, don’t worry. Position your gauge in the most practical position out of harm’s way. For example, if your garden has limited open space and is in use by the family, you could mount your gauge at the top of a garden post.
  4. When you take your reading (or observation) record the date and time of your reading along with the measurement. If possible, try to take your readings on a daily basis and at the same time each day.
  5. Don’t forget to empty your gauge after you’ve made your observation. You don’t want the previous day’s rainfall to interfere with your next observation.
  6. Try to enter your data into the Citizen science rainfall observer’s portal as close to the time you made your observation as possible.
  7. If you can’t make an observation every day, such as weekends, holidays or if you’re unwell, the ideal solution would be to arrange for someone to stand in for you. But if that’s not possible you can either submit an accumulated total for the days you missed (if your rain gauge hasn’t overflowed), or empty your gauge and take your next observation the following day.

Please note if you are interested in becoming an official rainfall observers you will be provided with a rain gauge and further guidance on collecting data.