Why test?

1. Water quality data is desperately needed.

Massive gaps in water quality data exist in the UK and beyond, which is extremely worrisome. After all, how can our leaders be expected to make good decisions for water if they don’t know how well it’s doing in the first place?

Unfortunately, there aren’t enough scientists and professionals on the ground who can consistently monitor all of the world’s water bodies. That’s where community testers like you come in! We don’t aim to replace scientists, but we do want to lend a helping hand. By working together, we can accomplish so much more.

Some questions that you may be trying to answer include:

  • what’s the health of a river, stream, or catchment?
  • Where would interventions make a big impact (e.g. hotspots)?

2. Testing leads to connection.

Let’s face it- modern society can be busy, complicated, and confusing. This is probably why, even though most Brits say they care about water, many do not participate in its stewardship.

The solution? Community water testing! Time and time again, we find that when people learn about and then test the water, they feel motivated to protect it. Now more than ever, we need more people to get involved with environmental stewardship, and testing is a great way to encourage this!

People often remark that testing:

  • Encourages them to visit new beaches or lakes
  • Helps them notice new things about their surroundings, such as pollution
  • Leads to a greater appreciation for wildlife
  • Prompts them to participate in other activities, like attending public meetings or participating in restoration projects

Engaging with potential citizen scientists is about understanding why they are interested, helping them contribute in a way that they see as meaningful, and supporting their aims and the aims of the group.

A volunteer will be someone with questions: “I live by a water body …
Is it clean? does it smell? does it look healthy? … has it changed …
” and importantly “what can I do about it, how do I check the water, and who can I share that information with so that it is useful?

There are a number of groups at the national level, some at the regional level, looking at the big picture. Harnessing and focusing at the local level means a local organisation or perhaps a group of local communities that share a common interest in a particular river.
These pages hope to help set up such a community based on the work we’ve done and found most useful.

Updated on May 1, 2024

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