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Thursday, 14 October 2021 15:09

Earthwatch Europe collaboration wins £7.1m in Water Breakthrough Challenge

Catchment Systems Thinking Cooperative (CaSTCo.) is one of nine winners of Ofwat’s inaugural Water Breakthrough Challenge, and will share in £36 million to tackle some of the biggest challenges facing the water sector in England and Wales. 

At present, just 14% of rivers in England and 46% in Wales are deemed to be in good ecological health, and monitoring in rivers has been limited and inconsistent.  

The collaborative proposal, led by The Rivers Trust and United Utilities, aims to harness the power of citizen science combined with other monitoring approaches to create a much-needed, robust evidence base for tackling environmental challenges. It will provide direct support for local evidence gathering and community engagement, as well as a national framework of standardised tools and training.  

Isabel Bishop, Earthwatch’s Freshwater Research Lead, says,

“We are delighted to be a part of the CaSTCo. Our FreshWater Watch citizen scientists work hard to collect valuable data about our waterways and the Cooperative will provide an important mechanism for this information to reach the people who are best placed to act upon it.” 

This funding will be used over a three-year period to develop and implement the proposal in eight demonstrator river catchments across the country: 

  • Upper Mersey 
  • Tame 
  • Broadland rivers and CamEO 
  • Usk 
  • Chess 
  • Salmon & Dollis Brooks
  • Arun 
  • Tamar 

The information produced as a result of CaSTCo. will be gathered and shared into a central visualisation platform, helping decision-makers identify actions that will bring the biggest improvement to the state of rivers. 

We are keen to ensure that these tools will be rolled out to all of our English FreshWater Watch community groups regardless of whether they sit within a demonstrator catchment or not! If you would like to set up a community group and become part of a national movement to improve the state of our rivers, visit our FreshWater Watch website.  


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