Thank you to all of our 424 wonderful volunteers for your efforts in monitoring for us this year. You can find out the results of the 2019 Waterblitz below!

You can also explore the data further on the interactive map.

What do the results show?

What do these results mean for our freshwater environments?

Elements such as phosphates and nitrates occur naturally in freshwater and are nutrients for plants and important for wildlife. However, at unnaturally high levels they are pollutants, impacting the freshwater ecosystem in detrimental ways. Excess nutrients cause algae, fungi, bacteria and some tolerant water plants to grow more rapidly and become more abundant than they would naturally. The consequences of this are that intolerant species are smothered, outcompeted or directly poisoned resulting in many species becoming rarer. Toxic algal blooms harm aquatic invertebrates and fish by reducing the amount of oxygen in the water and can lead to increased costs of drinking water treatment downstream. In the United Kingdom around 90% of lowland surface freshwaters like rivers, streams and ponds have ecologically damaging levels of either nitrogen, phosphorus or both (Biggs et al. 2014).

The data collected during the 2019 WaterBlitz shows that pollutant levels are high in many parts of the Bristol Avon catchment and have either stayed consistently high or increased in the past 3 years. It demonstrates a greater need to address the causes and decreasing the movement of pollutants into local watercourses, particularly though sewage effluent, fertiliser run-off and from urban surfaces. The WaterBlitz data you collected is being used to identify pollution hotspots where action needs to be taken.

How can you help?

  • Volunteer with your local Rivers Trust or community group. Get involved in river cleans, restoration projects and community initiatives to decrease pollution.
  • Reduce pollution by only flushing the 3 P’s, avoid pouring fats and oils down the sink, compost food waste and limit the use of household detergents and garden fertilisers.
  • Collect data during future WaterBlitz. Look out for- and report- pollution incidents when out for a walk (24/7 to the Environment Agency on 0800 807060) and get involved in citizen science events.

These above results are available as a PDF which is available on request from harriet@bristolavonriverstrust.org