We are a team of action-researchers from Universiti Malaya, Malaysia and Cardiff University, UK who have been collaborating with key stakeholders at the Selangor River Watershed to upscale a so-called “heartware” driven place-based citizen science approach to enhance participatory watershed management in the area. “Heartware” here refers to the harnessing of internal and voluntary motivation for long-term collaboration and collective efforts for watershed conservation based on shared local values. The conservation of the Selangor River is critical for Malaysia as it provides 60% of water supply to the country’s capital city of Kuala Lumpur. Specifically, this is done through the development of the “Eco-Heart Citizen Science Programme”, a heartware approach to citizen science for participatory water quality monitoring. The aim is to co-develop the programme to make it more relevant and politically viable for policy makers, whilst designing it to be simple and attractive enough to be handled by citizen scientists. The project employs a combination of three different participatory methods: citizen science, place- and systems- based methods and participatory action research (PAR). The programme is currently being tested with citizen groups located at the Selangor River Watershed, with inputs from key stakeholders. This is a pioneering water-related place-based citizen science programme in the country.