Protecting Wild Waters

Do you swim in your local river or lake, and want to take steps to improve it’s water quality? Take action and apply for bathing water designation with our support.

Get involved in Protecting Wild Waters

Protecting Wild Waters has been created to provide communities with support to apply for bathing water designation.

From bolstering campaigns in your community, to advising on how to contact your MP for support, we can provide the tools you need to apply.

More and more communities are taking a lead in getting their inland waterways designated. Join them in making a change. It takes a whole community to work with us to make a change and help end sewage pollution.

Visit the Protecting Wild Waters website

How clean are our rivers?

Hundreds of thousands of us flock to the winding banks of our local rivers every year. A respite from the stresses and strains of modern day life, rivers have become increasingly essential for our health and wellbeing. Yet our rivers are spiralling towards environmental collapse, posing a serious threat to human health. Only 14% of rivers meet good ecological status and our citizen science investigations have revealed that 3 in 4 rivers pose a serious continuous risk to human health.

Almost 90% of storm overflows in England and Wales discharge directly into rivers. This means untreated sewage is released into rivers and streams across the country for shocking numbers of hours each year. It stinks.

In 2021 alone, more than 2.7 million hours of sewage was discharged into rivers in England and Wales. A huge volume of agricultural runoff also enters rivers, streams and lakes up and down the country, releasing toxic fertilisers and pesticides into precious ecosystems. On top of that, it’s estimated that 1 million highway drains discharge water contaminated with hydrocarbons, metals and plastic directly into watercourses. This is making us sick.

Bathing Water Designation creates blue spaces where water quality is officially monitored for harmful bacteria and viruses, with legal obligations placed on industry to stop sewage and agricultural pollution. This provides a powerful indicator of the state of our water and drives real change.
Kirsty Davies, Community Water Quality Officer, Surfers Against Sewage