Water Watch is a nationwide survey that takes place every spring and autumn. By spending just 15 minutes observing your local waterway for signs of pollution, water quality and wildlife and recording what you see in the Planet Patrol app, you are helping to assess the overall health of our rivers.
This bi-annual nationwide health check means we can start to understand the scale of threats and challenges our waterways face. It gives us an indication of areas that require urgent attention or investigation and provides the evidence needed to help develop and implement effective solutions – before it’s too late.
There is no equipment required to participate in Water Watch – it’s purely observational and you aren’t required to access the water.
It’s a nationwide survey so if you’re in the UK then you’re eligible to participate. It’s designed to be accessible to anyone – even without a scientific background. There is guidance in the Planet Patrol app to help identify particular species, wildlife or signs of pollution and there’s lots of resources on the website too.
Yes, of course. You are welcome to survey multiple waterways or visit different parts of the same waterway, just make sure you start a new survey for each site you visit. We want to cover as many of the UK’s waterways as possible to give us lots of insights.
We recommend taking around 15 minutes to complete the survey but you can spend as long (or as little) time as you like observing your surroundings for signs of wildlife and pollution, whilst completing the survey on the Planet Patrol app.
There’s no experience necessary and you don’t need to have any scientific experience or background to participate. Spring Water Watch is open to everyone and we’re here to help guide you through step by step.
Spring Water Watch is surveying the UK’s freshwater habitats, so if you live near a coastal area and want to take part, have a look on a map to find your nearest river/canal/stream/lake/pond or freshwater estuary.
All the information you record in the Planet Patrol app will be analysed by the team and the findings will be released publicly. If you’ve chosen to opt-in to receive further updates about Spring Water Watch, we’ll share the results via our newsletter and our website, Instagram and TikTok social channels.
Spring Water Watch runs from the 21st – 30th April. Please submit your findings by midnight on Sunday 30th April for them to be eligible.
Not a single waterway in England is in good health and government funding cuts have resulted in a drastic reduction of water quality testing. Water Watch will help to fill these knowledge gaps. The data collected will be crucial in helping to understand more about what is happening to the nation’s waterways, and what measures and further testing needs to be put in place at a local level to help protect them.
If you come across a major pollution or environmental incident during Spring Water Watch, you should contact the Environment Agency incident hotline at: 0800 80 70 60.
Yes, we recommend you read our health and safety guidance before heading out on Water Watch and you can also refer to it whilst out conducting your survey.
Yes, we have a template risk assessment at the end of our Health and Safety guidance. We recommend you complete this ahead of conducting the Water Watch survey to assess any potential risks or hazards for you and anyone participating with you.
Following the devastating news that targets to clean up the majority of England’s waters have been pushed back 36 years, citizen science community action is more important than ever. Not a single waterway in England is in good health and government funding cuts have resulted in a drastic reduction of water quality testing – the time to take action is now.
Water Watch, which runs every spring and autumn, will help to fill these knowledge gaps. The data collected will be crucial in helping scientists understand more about what is happening to the nation’s waterways and what measures need to be put in place at a local level to help protect them.
Our second Water Watch took place this spring, building on the insights of Autumn Water Watch 2022. Click below to see the results:
‘What Lies Beneath’ will be the most comprehensive people-powered data collection activation of its kind – and we need your help!
You don’t need a scientific background. Your involvement will give us the insights needed to push for more ambitious standards for water quality across the UK.
Register your interest in being a part of this groundbreaking programme by filling out the form here.
Please help us achieve 100,000 signatures by sharing this petition far and wide.
Enter your email below and you’ll receive a link to download the report.