Yorkshire Water embracing citizen science to enhance Wharfe

The river Wharfe taken from the bank at Ilkley
Community and people General news


Yorkshire Water is working in partnership with citizen science groups sampling the River Wharfe to better understand water quality in the river. 

The utility company is modelling river water quality in Ilkley and further upstream to analyse both the scale and sources of pollution from faecal bacteria, as it continues its work with the Wharfe Partnership to improve the river. 

Will Hunt, environmental modelling advisor at Yorkshire Water, said: “We are working to model the river to better understand where faecal pollutants are coming from as all the sources are yet to be identified. By extending the data available to us through the citizen science groups’ sampling, we will be able to be more accurate with our efforts and understand the impact of our wastewater assets and other industries, such as agriculture. 

“Working closely with citizen science groups will also help to identify all sources of pollution and allow partners and individuals to take action to reduce pollutants entering the river, whether from our assets, agriculture, industry or residential properties in Ilkley or further upstream.” 

Volunteers from several community groups in the area have been conducting sampling of the river and have shared their findings with Yorkshire Water and will continue to do so in the future. 

Professor Rick Battarbee, who is leading the community sampling efforts on the Wharfe, said: “I welcome Yorkshire Water’s commitment to improving water quality on the Wharfe and their willingness to work with community groups by sharing data, pooling knowledge and finding solutions to restore the river for the benefit of people and wildlife.”