What is a WaterBlitz?

A WaterBlitz is a FreshWater Watch activity for the whole community. Usually hosted over one weekend, members of the public can sign up to receive a free water testing kit and become citizen scientists by testing a water body local to them. The data collected by hundreds of people over this same time period gives us an accurate and comparable snapshot of water health within a region.

The WaterBlitz runs in the Bristol-Avon catchment and Thames Valley in the UK, as well as Sweden, Italy, France, Ireland and Luxembourg.

For information about how to organise your own WaterBlitz, contact us.

Recent events

Thames WaterBlitz

25-28 September 2020

Thank you to everyone who took part in our tenth Thames WaterBlitz. You helped to make it our biggest event yet! We are busy collecting and analysing data so please check back to view more results.

The Thames WaterBlitz is a four-day event run by Earthwatch, designed to help us find out more about the water quality in the Thames Valley. We believe that we cannot truly understand what is going on in our rivers without collecting evidence that demonstrates how healthy (or unhealthy) they really are.

Most of our natural waters in the UK are suffering from pollution and other human impacts. We use data collected by you during the WaterBlitz to identify clean waters, to pinpoint pollution hotspots, and to help inform where, who, when and how remedial actions should be taken. We could never collect this much information by ourselves, so we ask you to help us. This was our tenth WaterBlitz in the Thames Valley, and we are starting to build a real understanding of what’s happening across the region. Having repeated measurements is vital to provide robust, scientific evidence, which can be used to make real changes.

This year, our WaterBlitz was supported by the Riverfly Partnership and MoRPh. Their trained networks of river monitors helped to collect data on the insects that live in our waterways and the habitats they live in at exactly the same time as we conducted our survey. This will allow us to see in more detail the impacts that pollution, drought, and land use change might be having on our wildlife.

Preliminary results

Over the coming weeks, we will be undertaking a full scientific analysis of the data collected during the WaterBlitz, including data collected by FreshWater Watch volunteers, Riverfly monitors, and MoRPh surveyors. Our full findings will be sent to all participants in due course, and this webpage will be updated accordingly. In the next few weeks, we also hope to publish an interactive map to allow direct comparison between WaterBlitz data and Environment Agency monitoring data. This map, along with relevant findings, will be shared with the Environment Agency, who will incorporate the research into their decision-making process. We will be updating this webpage regularly, so watch this space!

Image credit: John Hunt