Wessex Water Guardians

Dorset river

Wessex Water Guardians

Working towards cleaner rivers in Dorset and improving the habitats for wildlife

Want to become a Water Guardian and protect your local river?

Rivers and streams are one of our most important resources, sustaining human life and supporting diverse habitats and species. 

What are the aims of the Water Guardians project?

Funded by Wessex Water and co-ordinated by Dorset Wildlife Trust, the project is designed to improve the water environment of Dorset by recruiting and training teams of local volunteers as Water Guardians to monitor watercourses, identify possible pollution incidents and report them to Wessex Water for further investigation. Water Guardians will be additional eyes and ears on the ground, playing an essential role in both maintaining the health of their local river, and improving the quality of the habitat for wildlife, As well as monitoring pollution to improve water quality, volunteers can also help with recording wildlife sightings and organising local engagement events.

Where is the project based?

Initially the project will focus on higher risk areas such as the Corfe, Lodden, Shreen, Stour, Simene, Brit, Asker, Mangerton, and Hooke river catchments as well as stretches of rivers near Wessex Water assets, pollution hotspots and environmental areas of interest and importance. The county has one of the highest proportions of conservation areas in England and much of the county drains into three rivers: the Frome, Piddle and Stour (which originate from chalk streams or clay soil). Our ambition is to expand the project so we’re keen to hear from people across Dorset who live near and love their rivers.

Who can be a Water Guardian?

Everyone is welcome to join the volunteering team - you can take part as an individual, a couple, as a family or community group and we encourage people of all ages and from all walks of life to get involved. If you love walking along your local river and would like to help protect the health and biodiversity of freshwater habitats, why not be a Water Guardian?

Water Guardians offers a flexible volunteering opportunity which can be fitted in whenever it is convenient. We are looking for local people to walk their stretch of river on their own or with family or friends at least once a month. We will provide training for volunteers so that they know how to monitor rivers for signs of pollution using a range of methods and how to report the incidents back to us. In addition, volunteers can help by recording wildlife or helping to organise local engagement events. This is an opportunity to have a real impact in your local community and environment, whilst learning more about freshwater ecology and environmental health.

Logos for Water Guardians project

Want to get involved?

Would you like to join the team of Water Guardians and help protect Dorset’s beautiful rivers and wetlands? We’re looking for local volunteers across Dorset with particular focus on the following areas:

Corfe Castle (Corfe River Catchment) 
Gillingham (Lodden, Shreen and Stour Headwaters Catchment) 
Bridport (Simene, Brit, Asker and Mangerton Catchments) 
Maiden Newton (Hooke River Catchment) 
Askerswell (River Asker Catchment) 

 Get in touch to become a Water Guardian