WaterBlitz 2016

29th March 2016

WaterBlitz: on the look out for clean water for wildlife

Our Clean Water for Wildlife survey is off to a great start. Volunteers are blitzing their local freshwaters across England and Wales in search of wildlife rich, clean water habitats.

The Clean Water kits have been sent out, and volunteers are using them to find out how much phosphate and nitrate there is in their local ponds, streams, ditches and lakes.

The water samples change colour depending on the scale of nutrient pollution. The darker the colour, the more pollution there is.

Some freshwaters are clean, showing no colour change in the samples. These clean water habitats are able to support a wide range of plants and animals, including many rare species.

Groups of volunteers, like the Friends of Rawcliffe Meadow in York, below, have been testing the ponds on their Flagship Pond sites.

Rawcliffe Meadows Water Blitz 13Mar2016 (2)1

Rawcliffe Meadows Water Blitz 13Mar2016 (4)1

Flagship sites are the best pond sites in the country. They support some of our richest ponds and rarest freshwater wildlife because they have clean water, like Foxglove Covert in Yorkshire.

Foxglove Covert Water Blitz Anne Heathcote 14Mar2016 (2) original

Foxglove Covert Water Blitz Anne Heathcote 14Mar2016 (3) original

Lots of different groups are getting involved. Students from Herefordshire & Ludlow College tested seven ponds on their Holm Lacey campus, on an organic farm, and found them all to have very low nutrient levels.

clean water testing at Holm Lacey Herefordshire 21mar2016 Pete Case 01clean water testing at Holm Lacey Herefordshire 21mar2016 Pete Case 02

Hanna Jenkins from Thames Water helped a group of school children test the ponds at Pinkhill Meadow on the River Thames.  Thames Water supports Thames Water for Wildlife, a project that is looking for clean water and rare species throughout the Thames Water region.

WaterBlitz at Pinkhill, owned by Thames Water

School groups are  testing waterbodies in the Wye Valley, and will be doing more during the Wye Valley River Festival, run by the Wye Valley AONB partnership.

School groups join in the Waterblitz in the Wye Valley

Staff at Margram Country Park, Neath Port Talbot, collected samples from their site, and tested them, in comfort, indoors.

Water Testing in Action with Staff at Margam Country Park

With mixed results…

Water Test Results Margram Country Park

Volunteers are getting out to some lovely sites, and spotting wildlife as they go.



Some spots are not quite so lovely… like this pipe carrying surface water from a nearby housing estate which was found to be polluted. All other ponds and ditches on the site, none of which were fed by drains or inflows, were clean.

Water sampling at Frog Toad Event Avon Meadows 22Mar16 Pete Case sml

Even our own team are testing sites… on their holiday!

You don’t need much equipment to take part: a Clean Water kit, a container for your water sample, and a timer (most mobile phones have one).

And we have made a video of how to use the kit…

We’d love for you to join us. Come on in – we’re finding out if the water is lovely!

Get involved in a WaterBlitz

Find out more about Clean Water for Wildlife on our website and email the team on peoplepondswater@freshwaterhabitats.org.uk to get involved.