Wild Oxfordshire is spear-heading a campaign to collect 1,000 water samples from the many hundreds of freshwater-bodies across the Thames River Basin in a single day: 14th September 2015. Wild Oxfordshire are using the opportunity of the Thames Festival to highlight the whole of the Thames River Basin, as well as the many organisations and volunteers working to improve its water quality, flows and biodiversity.
Historically the festival has focussed on the 67km stretch of the Thames running through London, but the river is actually closer to 354km in total length. The Thames is an important water source, providing around two-thirds of London's drinking water. Phosphates and nitrates enter the river at numerous points across the whole water network and can harm ecosystems, sensitive plants and animals and increase nuisance algae incidences and treatment costs and reduce drinking water quality.
The River Thame Conservation Trust has supplied 1,000 easy to use testing kits, to be distributed mainly through catchment hosts. EarthWatch have volunteered to map all results on their global water-hub with the resulting data available to everyone involved.
The event is timed to coincide with the regular Thames sample run undertaken by the Centre for Ecology and Hydrology (CEH) as part of a long-term monitoring programme of the Thames and its tributaries.
Along with monitoring data collected by CEH and data held by the Environment Agency this event will help to identify and focus attention on freshwater bodies where we can have the greatest beneficial impact – protecting what is already good and identifying locations where cleaning up further is likely to be easiest and most effective. After the survey Wild Oxfordshire, Freshwater Habitats Trust and the Environment Agency will work with the catchment partnerships to provide feedback on the results.