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Citizen Science Monitoring on the River Avon

Concerns about the quality of water in the River Avon have led to the formation of For the Love of Water (FLOW) CIC -  a not-for-profit Community Interest Company based in Downton, dedicated to improving the health of the River Avon Special Area of Conservation (SAC).  By acting as a community hub, individuals and organisations with a shared passion for the River Avon can help to build a picture of river health and target improvements.  In partnership with the Wessex Rivers Trust they have setup their own water quality and ecology monitoring on the river to build on data already collected by the Environment Agency. Their small but growing network of ‘Citizen Scientists’ regularly collect samples, with all data displayed in real time on their website.  They are also collating, sharing and linking to lots of information and data about the river.  


Adam Ellis, the founder of FLOW admits to having been obsessed with rivers and lakes since he was young. He moved to the Avon Valley in 2012 and now lives a short walk away from the river in Downton. He founded FLOW CIC to encourage community buy-in to the Salisbury Avon catchment, building on the work already being done and embracing the  flourishing citizen science movement.

He says: "Our River Avon is a fantastic local resource, a focal point for communities living along its valley and a globally rare ‘Chalk River’ habitat.  Regrettably it is classed as being in ‘Unfavourable Condition’ by Natural England, and only ‘Moderate Ecological Status’ by the Environment Agency.  From talking to local land managers, anglers and residents, there is a definite perception of decline in river health.  You will have seen lots in the press recently about sewage pollution, but this is just one of many factors impacting our river fitting into three key categories – Water Quality, Water Quantity, and Habitat."

Ivy Ellis samples the water at the Millennium Green

Testing kit

You can get involved by:

Subscribing to their newsletter and social media, and sharing with friends

Getting in touch if you are interested in collecting water samples or helping with river invertebrate monitoring.  Or you might have skills to help in other ways, such as marketing, fundraising, web design.

Sharing any stories or historic photos of the river, which could be hosted on the website, as FLOW is potentially interested in any records of historic management of the river.

If you run a local business, they are looking for companies to sponsor the kit that volunteers use. 


Adam again: "It’s a great local way to boost your environmental credentials.  Please get in touch to discuss.  Without this support we are severely limited in our reach."

For more details, look at FLOW's website or email Adam at

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