FreshWater Watch is a global project run by Earthwatch Europe, in which individuals and communities monitor, protect and restore their local water resources.

We train people around the world to measure the health of their local rivers, lakes and other bodies of fresh water. The resulting data provides the evidence needed to support efforts to improve water quality.

FreshWater Watch was launched in 2012. Since then, Earthwatch has expanded this flagship project to reach volunteers, research organisations, businesses, authorities and schools across the world. See the latest information on the number of measurements taken, number of projects and numbers of people engaged.

As water experts, we know that we will only improve freshwater habitats by working together. That’s why we bring together citizens, businesses, governments, scientists, and educators to protect our fresh water. By monitoring their local waterbodies, our citizen scientists around the world contribute data and knowledge to a unified global effort to improve the health of fresh water for everyone.

A simple way to measure fresh water

Using FreshWater Watch, people around the world can easily measure the health of freshwater ecosystems. FreshWater Watchers record:

  • basic visual observations, such as "How much water is there?", "Can you see any pollution sources?", "Is there any wildlife present?"
  • water chemistry using some simple test kits that measure nitrates and phosphates
  • turbidity (ie how clear the water is) using an optical test called a Secchi Tube.

Standard data collection

Because FreshWater Watchers across the world, from Argentina to Zambia, are all using the same standard method, we can make global comparisons that have never been possible before.

Read more about the quality of our data and our results.

A global community of citizen scientists

FreshWater Watch is more than just a monitoring tool. The FreshWater Watch platform, available in 8 languages, enables FreshWater Watchers to upload data to our centrally managed database via an app or the website. Basic data analysis can be done online or the data can be downloaded for more complex tasks. FreshWater Watchers also have access to online training materials to ensure they know how to collect data safely, as well as resources where they can learn more about fresh water. Local leaders of FreshWater Watch projects across the world receive support from Earthwatch via our ‘Train the Trainer’ events, which ensure they are equipped to use FreshWater Watch to tackle local issues. Find out more.

Because our method is universal, we operate a centralised platform and we take care to ensure the quality of our data is recognised and trusted by governments, the water industry, and scientific researchers worldwide. Our team works hard to make sure that all data held within the FreshWater Watch system is put to use. By contributing to our global database, FreshWater Watchers around the world can be assured that they are helping to make a difference.

Find out more about FreshWater Watch

Why fresh water?

Why fresh water is so important.


Our team

Meet the FreshWater Watch team.



Frequently asked questions.