Water Matters – Kennet Catchment Partnership – Case Study

Organisation: Action for the River Kennet

Location: River Kennet

Type: Case Studies & Projects

Link: Visit Website

Action for the River Kennet (ARK) and Thames Water have been working together since 2011 to show people just how valuable water really is. The project instils an understanding of the local river and what lives in it, coupled with an understanding of how household water use can impact the quantity of water in the river to support wildlife. Students learnt how they can use less water with simple behaviour changes and /or smarter home visits from Thames Water.

From 2011 to 2018 ARK worked with around 90 schools and groups and the project has reached almost 9,000 children.

ARK has a well-developed schools programme, which includes ‘Trout in school’, ‘Eels in school’ and ‘A river in my classroom’ as well as riverside ‘welly walks’ to investigate what lives in the river. Most projects work over an 8-week term with a minimum of three visits to each school, which allows us to build a relationship with the teachers and students. Working with Thames Water we have developed a ‘water passport’ which children can use to keep track of what wildlife they have seen and what steps they have taken to reduce their water use.

Method of delivery

Twin-track approach of community engagement events and offering water efficiency audits and water saving devices. Engagement activities principally targeted schools and school children to promote water efficiency by direct learning experiences about the ecology of their local river, understanding the impacts of abstraction and reducing their water consumption, to preserve the river Kennet.

Environmental Benefits: 

By helping children and families to value water and use it with care, the environment benefits because less water is abstracted to meet demand.

Social Benefits:

The project encourages children to get out and about and enjoy their local river, which has social benefits including an enhanced sense of place and the physical and mental benefits of being outdoors in nature. By working with riparian owners we are often able to give schools access to parts of the river which are normally closed to the public.

Economic Benefits: 

Households can save money on both water and energy by using less water. The Water Matters project promotes water efficiency. Smarter Home Visits are provided by Thames Water and involve fitting water efficient devices into homes.

Lessons learnt: 

Teachers value experts coming into school much more than receiving an ‘education pack’ that they have to use themselves.

Having sufficient funding to offer more than one visit helps to build a relationship, track student progress and discover other opportunities to work with schools, e.g. to install rain gardens in the playground.

Having a choice of projects on offer allows teachers to work with us during a term that suits them.

Key results to date (2019)

Delivery & Monitoring Icon

school visits across the River Kennet Catchment since 2011. Since 2011, the project reached nearly 9,000 children

children reached since 2011

Smarter Home Visits carried out in the Kennet Catchment since 2015, saving over 1 million litres of water a day.

free water saving devices ordered by households in the River Kennet Catchment since 2011.

leaking toilets found and fixed, saving around just under half a million litres of water per day (460,910 litres/day).

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