What is the aim and purpose?

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust and Wessex Water have joined forces to work towards cleaner rivers and good quality habitats for wildlife. Funded by Wessex Water, the project aims to recruit and train local volunteers – the Water Guardians – to monitor watercourses, identify possible pollution incidents and report them to Wessex Water for further investigation. Water Guardians will be our eyes and ears on the ground, playing an essential role in both the health of their local river and in their communities. As well as monitoring pollution to improve water quality, volunteers can also help by litter-picking, recording wildlife or organising local engagement events.

Where is the project based?

Initially it will focus on the Hampshire Avon, Bristol Avon and Upper Thames catchment areas, but particularly areas near Wessex Water assets, pollution hotspots and environmental areas of interest and importance. Much of the Hampshire Avon catchment is designated as a SSSI/SAC chalk stream, however pressures from the development and agriculture sectors are impacting the health of the river. Please get in touch with Wiltshire Wildlife Trust if you’re interested. Our ambition is to expand the project so we’re keen to hear from people across Wiltshire who live near and love their rivers.

           Map of area of  interest within Wiltshire.  

As a Water Guardian you will be trained in how to monitor rivers, by learning about the different types of pollution and how to report these incidents and in the monitoring and recording of wildlife.  You will have health and safety training and be provided with a hi-vis vest and appropriate PPE.

Water Guardians are part of the volunteering team at Wiltshire Wildlife Trust. You could take part as an individual, couple, family or community group and we encourage people from all walks of life to become involved.

Wiltshire Wildlife Trust are actively seeking to support local initiatives and partner with local experts, community groups and existing projects. We’d love you to share your knowledge, input your ideas and help us build a library of training and resources for local people. By connecting our efforts, we’ll help to ensure a healthy future for our rivers and wetlands.

Visit our volunteer opportunities page for more details about the role of Water Guardians.

Find out more about our project by getting in touch with:

Water Guardians Project Officer: Oonagh French

[email protected]