East Anglia and the area served by Anglian Water is extremely varied and surprising developed in some places. There are many bathing beaches along the coast and the rivers and watercourses inland such as The Broads have a unique character due to their history and the way they are drained.
The RiverCare programme aims to ensure our waterways are vibrant, attractive, accessible places for all. From the Lincolnshire rivers, to the Essex estuaries, there is a network of over 800 RiverCare volunteers working in the Anglian region, transforming their local waterways. Our RiverCare volunteers are spread across 40 local projects ranging from urban rivers to rural chalk streams. RiverCare volunteers directly tackle issues on the ground, including removing litter from their local watercourses, carrying out habitat management work, surveying the biodiversity and raising local awareness of the value of rivers and how to protect them. For example, some of our river groups carry out surveys for otter and water voles using trail cameras and mammal rafts.
Many other volunteer groups help the fight against non-native plants species, such as Himalayan Balsam, which can cause riverbank erosion. RiverCare groups often start by tackling a litter issue. This enables them to make a real difference in a short time and encourage the local community to respect the local riverside. Last year, over 9,000 bags of litter were cleared up by the RiverCare network of volunteers. RiverCare volunteer groups are ‘Friends of’ groups, canoe clubs, residents groups, but often they are simply neighbours who’ve teamed up to improve their local watercourse. We have also begun a water saving project, where neighbours encourage each other to reduce their home water usage through appreciating the links between the water which comes out of our taps and the water sustaining a healthy local environment. The project is all about pitching in together to make a difference and to have a fun time doing it.
This is how one RiverCare volunteer described being part of the project “A real sense of camaraderie (and) a sense of satisfaction at seeing improvements to the river. I have learnt a lot about the environment, gained confidence in what I can contribute and achieve and I have learnt a lot about team work. It has altogether been a very worthwhile experience for me.”
The RiverCare project is a partnership between Keep Britain Tidy and Anglian Water. http://www.keepbritaintidy.org/rivercare/551
Thames Estuary PartnershipThe Thames Estuary Partnership is working with the Environment Agency, Southend-on-Sea Borough Council and Anglian Water to help raise awareness of the causes of poor water quality in Southend-on-Sea where there are several popular bathing beaches. We are helping to promote good practice and pollution prevention amongst businesses, residents and boat users.