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.

Upcoming events

Thames WaterBlitz

25-28 September 2020: Registration open!

Are you concerned about the recent press coverage on the polluted state of our rivers? Are you available for half an hour between 25-28 September? If so, we have a free and exciting activity that you might want to join. 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. We will 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.

Who can take part?

  • You must be in the Thames Valley area on the weekend of 25 September, with some free time to complete the survey
  • You must be able to access a local river, stream, pond, lake or other area of fresh water
  • You must have access to the internet, or know someone who will be able to upload results to the internet for you.

What will I need to do?

Refer to our map of the Thames Valley area then click here to register. This is a simple process that shouldn’t take more than a few minutes. You will be set up with an account so that you can log in to our website. Before you go out to take your measurements, you will need to log in to your profile to read our user guide and watch a short training video. We will send you a kit shortly before the WaterBlitz weekend - please make sure to only take your measurements between 25-28 September. The survey itself should only take about 15 minutes, but of course you can take longer if you like. You can upload your data using our mobile app while you are out collecting your measurements, or you can fill out a datasheet and upload the information to our website later. It is very important that you take the time to upload and check your data, as it will be used in future scientific studies and will help inform policies and improvements.

Is this COVID safe?
Please be aware that this is an outdoor activity and you will not need to come into contact with other people, however please check that you are following the latest COVID-19 advice in your region regarding self-isolation, social distancing and movement.

What is the data for?
Most of our natural waters in the UK are suffering from pollution and other human impacts. You can help us protect our waters by providing vital information on the water quality, local land use, and nearby environment. We could never collect this much information by ourselves, so we are asking you to help us. This is our 10th 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, we are co-ordinating our WaterBlitz with the Riverfly Partnership. Their trained network of anglers will collect data on the insects that live in our waterways at exactly the same time as we conduct 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. If you are a Riverfly volunteer, please register for the WaterBlitz here. On the WaterBlitz weekend you should collect and upload your Riverfly data in the usual way immediately after you have completed your Earthwatch measurements.

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

Image credit: John Hunt