Fresh water is essential to all life. Waterbodies such as rivers are home to a surprising diversity of wildlife. They bring many benefits to people too, supporting businesses and communities.
But our freshwater resources, including the River Thames, are in crisis. The Thames Valley is the most densely populated area in the UK and is home to lots of farmland. Because of this, the rivers that feed the Thames are under intense pressure from pollution.
At Earthwatch, we recognise the importance of working with water companies to help make sure that water and sewage are managed carefully. That’s why we’re working with Thames Water, to engage with local communities and help protect fresh water across the Thames Valley.
Thames Water supports community-led projects to monitor the quality of water across the Thames Valley.
A WaterBlitz is a fun and free event where everyone can help assess the health of the rivers in our cities by collecting water samples. Thames Water supports our biannual Thames WaterBlitz, which takes place every six months.
Thames Water is also helping Earthwatch to equip other organisations with the ability to monitor water quality in the Thames Valley all year round. Sign up to the newsletter to be the first to know when our next WaterBlitz is happening.
Part of our work with Thames Water focuses on the Evenlode catchment, an area in the Cotswolds north-west of Oxford. The area gets its name from the River Evenlode which flows into the Thames.
Earthwatch and Thames Water are working with stakeholders from the Evenlode Catchment Partnership to help them take an active role in water management. As part of this, we have trained ‘Catchment Champions’, providing members of the public with the skills needed to monitor local water quality over a 12-month period.
Specifically, Catchment Champions will be measuring phosphate levels in ten locations across the catchment that are known to be prone to pollution. In these locations, they will be helping to assess the effectiveness of activities which aim to reduce phosphate levels in the river. The data they collect will also contribute to the FreshWater Links database, helping researchers and policymakers understand water quality across the Thames Valley.