AN environmental group is asking the public to help survey water pollution in a spring 'WaterBlitz'.

Earthwatch Europe is appealing for help throughout the Thames Valley during its four-day initiative, which runs from next Friday, April 26, to Monday April, 29. 2019.

It says rivers, streams, lakes, and ponds provide numerous local benefits – including drinking water, homes for wildlife, navigation, tourism, and recreation – but face increasing threats from development as well as pollution.

The biannual WaterBlitz helps provide an overview of water quality across the region so conservation action can focus on key areas.

Volunteers need to register by Sunday to receive a free water sampling kit, with instructions on how to test them for nutrient levels, which can indicate potential sources of pollution.

Earthwatch researcher Stephen Parkinson explained: “Water sampling helps us understand where there may be sources of pollution. We can then make more informed recommendations to enable better management of those water bodies affected.

"The support of local people is essential to gathering these samples: with your help, we can collect hundreds of water samples across a huge geographic area, much more than any researcher could gather alone or in a small team. It’s easy for anyone to do.”

Since the first WaterBlitz in 2015, volunteers have helped collect 2, 322 water quality samples in the Thames Valley, the organisation said.

Analysis of these samples by Earthwatch has highlighted pollution hotspots in the tributaries of the Thames, such as the Evenlode and Ock rivers, where growing populations produce more pollutants and the smaller river size means there is less water to dilute the pollution.

This spring’s WaterBlitz is the eighth such event and is timed to coincide with regular water quality monitoring undertaken by the Centre for Ecology & Hydrology (CEH). Sampling at the same time as CEH helps to provide information from fresh water resources in the Thames Valley that would otherwise not be monitored, such as small ponds and tributaries.

The WaterBlitz is funded by Earthwatch’s corporate partner Thames Water, and is supported by Wild Oxfordshire and the Evenlode Catchment Partnership, among others.

To register, visit