Project Overview

In 2020, the iWharfe project started out as a citizen science project, working with the Addingham Environment Group, Ilkley Clean River Group and a range of other community groups to investigate the water quality of the River Wharfe, find out more here. The project was designed to provide a snapshot of water quality conditions along the entire length of the river on a single day and to raise awareness about water quality issues both for people and wildlife. Following this successful sampling event, the Yorkshire Dales Rivers Trust have adopted the project with an aspiration to continue the citizen science monitoring into 2021 and expand on the project further.

Project Outputs


Following the success of our mass sampling day in August 2020, we can now share the first report focusing on the microbiology data. You can view and download the report and official press release using the links below.


To see a brief summary of the project and a full list of partners and funders download our promotional flyer. 


We designed a project poster to publicise iWharfe as an event on social media. There is one general poster for the project as a whole and five posters customised for the five respective sampling zones which can all be found below.

iWharfe Sites

Sites for water sampling

On Monday, 24th August 2020, we took water samples from approximately 60 sites along the full length of the river. The samples were analysed for faecal indicator bacteria, such as E. coli, and nutrient water chemistry, especially orthophosphate, at specialist accredited laboratories.

View the water sampling site map below

Recreational sites

In addition to the sites for the water sampling, we have also identified approximately 30 sites along the rivers that are frequently used by visitors for swimming, paddling or other river-related recreational activity. On one or more occasions, depending on the weather, we will carry out visitor number surveys of these sites to assess which are the most popular and which are the safest to use on this particular day.

View the recreational site map below

The first visitor survey took place on Sunday 9th August. Take a look at a brief report and some pictures from the day.


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