Wessex Water Guardians are a network of volunteers who regularly monitor their local watercourses, mainly for signs of pollution, but who also report on other issues. Water Guardians can help record wildlife sightings, they can litter pick and can be supported to organise local engagement events.

Water Guardians are additional eyes and ears on the ground, playing an integral role in protecting the health of their local rivers. They help assess and improve the condition of rivers, improve habitats for wildlife and create more natural solutions for flood alleviation.

The wider Wessex Water Guardians project involves monitoring rivers across Wiltshire, Dorset and Somerset and now also rivers in the Bristol Avon Catchment. There is a particular focus on areas near pollution hotspots and environmental areas of interest/importance.  As the project grows, we aim to cover the entire catchment. Every river, ditch and stream is vitally important.

Funded by Wessex Water and coordinated by Bristol Avon Rivers Trust, Water Guardians are trained and supported by Bristol Avon Rivers Trust staff.

Where is the project based?

Along its journey, the Avon meets several tributaries including the River Marden, Somerset Frome, River Chew, Bristol Frome and smaller streams such as the By Brook, Brinkworth Brook and the River Trym. The area we cover also includes the Little Avon, the Bristol Avon’s little sister and the many rhines, dykes and small streams that flow directly into the Seven Estuary in South Gloucestershire and North Somerset. These are especially important habitats for the critically endangered European eel and migratory salmonid species.

We’re keen to hear from people across the Bristol Avon catchment who love their rivers, so please get in touch if you’re interested.

Who can be a Water Guardian?

Anybody! You can take part as an individual, couple, family or community group and we encourage people from all walks of life to get involved. Being a Water Guardian is a flexible volunteering opportunity which can be fitted in whenever is convenient for you. As long as you can visit the same stretch of river at least once a month and you are happy to report back what you see, we would love to hear from you.

You don’t need any experience as we will provide training for volunteers so you know what to look for when out by your river.