Water Quality Monitoring Surveys

A quarterly survey of water quality across the catchment. Volunteers use simple test kits to measure the levels of two widespread nutrient pollutants, nitrate and phosphate, in their local streams, ponds, ditches and in the River Thame.

Freshwater wildlife has evolved for millions of years in low nutrient conditions and so requires these conditions to survive, especially sensitive and many of our now rarest wetland plants and animals. When nutrients are added they act like fertilizer, causing fast growing and vigorous species, such as algae, to out compete slower growing and more sensitive species. In extreme cases the water can turn green and smelly. However the effects can be much more subtle than this, so even if water looks clear, it doesn’t necessary mean it is un-impacted by pollution.

By monitoring the catchment we can identify trends in water quality and target areas for future conservation work.

If you are interested in signing up to be a water quality monitor please email Hannah at hannah@riverthame.org

For more information on the test used please see the Freshwater Habitats Trust technical manual.

The survey

  1. Selected a waterbody from our online map [see right] or choose a local waterbody yourself (i.e. pond, stream, ditch, river).
  2. Every three months (Jan, Apr, Jul, Oct) collect a small water sample from your site(s) and test it for nitrate and phosphate pollution using our simple quick kits.
  3. Submit your results to contribute to the catchment survey.

Sign up for a site

If you are interested in taking on a monitoring sites please visit our online maps to find a location near you.

Test kit – How to video

Please see a short ‘how to‘ video for a demonstration of the test kits.

This video is taken from a similar survey run by Freshwater Habitats Trust. Therefore please do not follow the data entry information given in the video. 

Sending in your results

Please see your site information pack for site details, including grid reference and site name.

  1. Download this Excel spreadsheet (for Windows) or Numbers spreadsheet (for Mac) to record your results.
  2. Every three months, after each survey, email this spreadsheet to Hannah at hannah@riverthame.org


Please fill in the form found at the bottom of this page.

The results so far

To review the results and findings so far please follow the links below:


Submit your water quality results

  • The data obtained will only be used with regards to this enquiry and will not be used for future marketing or passed on to any third parties. This is in accordance with GDPR. By filling in the information you give your explicit consent for your data to be used for this purpose only.

  • Name of waterbody Date waterbody sampled Waterbody type Grid Reference Nitrate Score Phosphate Score  
    There are no Entries.
  • This field is for validation purposes and should be left unchanged.

This work is possible thanks to the support of Thames Water.