The Bristol Avon WaterBlitz is the annual event that allows everyone to get involved with improving the health of our rivers. Members of the public can now sign up to be part of the team of citizen scientists taking samples from waterways within the Bristol Avon catchment including Bristol, Bath, South Gloucestershire, Wiltshire and North East Somerset. This can easily be done during their time spent by the river, whether that’s whilst doing daily exercise, fishing, or even just exploring.
The Bristol Avon Rivers Trust (BART) is working in partnership with FreshWater Watch, a global programme developed by the environmental NGO Earthwatch, which enables volunteers to help monitor the health of rivers and streams. With support from the Avon Frome Partnership, the event returns bigger than ever before to improve rivers for the benefit of both people and wildlife.
You can help!
Water quality, particularly the levels of contaminants flowing through freshwater ecosystems, is one of the most significant obstacles to healthy rivers. Monitoring our rivers and streams as much as possible helps us to better understand the problem of water pollution and to find the best solutions to combat it.
BART is seeking enthusiastic volunteers to act as citizen scientists and collect data throughout August. As a citizen scientist, you will be provided with an easy-to-use testing kit ready to take samples from your chosen spot. You can then upload your results straight onto the FreshWater Watch website where they will be added to an interactive map offering insight for further investigations and future conservation efforts.
George Clark, BART Project Officer, said “This year’s WaterBlitz is a great opportunity to get back outside after months of lockdown and connect with your favourite local river or newly discovered stream. Volunteers can take an active, and socially distant role in scientific monitoring, helping us understand the water quality issues in our communities and to help protect our precious rivers.”
Together for rivers – why does it matter?
Clean, natural rivers are vital for people and wildlife to enjoy our blue spaces.
At present, there are no designated bathing waters in UK rivers. This means that the rivers people use to swim, paddle, catch and play could be severely polluted, without people even knowing it. In some cases, this can lead to bouts of illness, and put people off using rivers entirely.
Introducing designated bathing water standards for well-used rivers across the UK will ensure they are held to higher standards of cleanliness and help river users to make more informed choices about where to spend their time. On-the-ground activities like the Bristol Avon WaterBlitz will help us to gather data on the current health of our rivers and identify key pollutants. By volunteering your time, you have the opportunity not only to immerse yourself in our green and blue spaces, but to really make a difference to the health of our environment.