Watery Behaviours – Waddesdon & Quainton

Can a community change their behaviour to benefit their local streams and freshwater environment? 

This year we are working with the communities of Waddesdon & Quainton to improve the water quality of local streams by raising awareness of the issues caused by household waste water on the freshwater environment and influencing people’s ‘watery behaviours’.

We will be disseminating key information materials across the villages as well as running a series of events and activities that will enable people to learn about, enjoy and actively protect their local freshwaters. Best practice advice can also be found on our website here.

The communities of Waddesdon and Quainton have been chosen for this pilot project as they sit in the headwaters of the River Thame catchment, where water quality improvements will have the greatest impact on the local streams, and as both communities share the same sewage treatment works. To fully understand the impact our engagement has on household behaviour we are monitoring for changes in water quality in two local streams that drain water from the villages and blockage rates in the sewer drains.

Household Questionnaire

Got a spare 5 minutes? Help us better understand household ‘watery behaviours’ by filling in a short questionnaire.

What are ‘Watery Behaviours’?

Our ‘watery behaviours’ can have a big impact on the freshwater environment, polluting and damaging habitat for wildlife, and revolve around our day to day activities.

Key watery behaviours include:

  • What you pour down the drain.
  • What you flush down the loo.
  • How you wash your synthetic clothes.
  • Connecting drains correctly.
  • Maintaining septic tanks and private sewerage systems.

Become a Freshwater Champion

Are you following best practice (more info here) within the home to ensure you are protecting your local streams from waste water pollution? Sign up and champion your local streams and their wildlife.

All champions are sent an achievement sticker, perfect to pop in your front window or car. Show it off to your neighbours (go on, who doesn’t like being a little smug sometimes) and to help to show your support for the project. We aim to get a freshwater champion in every household in Waddesdon and Quainton!

You can be a freshwater champion if you are:

Freshwater Champion Sticker


  • Only flushing the three P’s down the loo: pee, poo, (toilet) paper.
  • Don’t pour fats and oils down the drain.
  • Try to use water efficiently to ensure as much as possible can be left in the environment for our rivers and streams.
  • Have checked your property for missconnections and fixed any you’ve found.
  • Never pour anything other than rain water down road drains.
  • If you have a private sewerage system are ensuring it is regularly emptied and maintained.

Optional extras (still very worth doing)

  • Are collecting rain water to water your plants.
  • Have created ‘clean’ water habitat by digging a wildlife pond (see top tips for this here).
  • Are using eco-friendly cleaning products.
  • Eat less meat – 15,415 litres of water are required to produce 1 kg of beef and 5,988 litres to produce 1 kg of pork.
  • Wash your car at a certified car washing location – they should have specialist drains that go to a sewage treatment works rather untreated waste water going straight to the river through road drains.

To sign up to be a Freshwater Champion please fill in this form.

River Thame Community Award

If enough people become freshwater champions we’ll award the communities of Waddesdon and Quainton with the first ever River Thame Community Award. These are awarded to exemplar communities of freshwater champions working collectively to ensure their local freshwaters  are protected from pollution for the benefit of freshwater wildlife.

Funded by