Citizen Science Support Programme

Are you passionate about our natural environment and keen to get involved in helping us all learn more about it? If so, we have an exciting opportunity, where we are making funding available to support citizen science projects in our operating area.

Citizen Science projects involve volunteers collecting data – through monitoring and observations - which will help expand our knowledge of the natural environment.

Maybe you are part of an environmental group? Do you know your local area really well and visit the same places often? You could help us further understand our environment…

We appreciate the commitment and devotion of our communities for caring for our natural environment. Citizen Science can cover such a wide range of data sources and we recognise the appetite of our communities wanting to help. It can provide information, including photographs and observations over vast areas and timelines. It can provide sampling data and data analysis, indicating patterns of trends as well as data sharing, improving the wider knowledge to help identify and support actions to improve river water quality and protect the local environment. It can also raise awareness and engagement within communities, increasing education and collaboration opportunities.

Citizen Science can lead to multiple opportunities and benefits, but for it to be of value, we need to consider the quality of sampling, consistency of information, involvement of regulators and very importantly, maintaining the safety of the public.

To help work towards this, we support the Catchment Systems Thinking Cooperative (CaSTCo) that aims to empower local communities to gather robust data which can be shared with decision makers, customers and other stakeholders, allowing evidence-based catchment management decisions. CaSTcO will develop a national framework of standardised tools and training. We have committed £250,000 to the CaSTCo project and are working with the Wye and Usk Foundation on a trial in the Usk catchment which is demonstrating how the agricultural community can engage in citizen science.

In the interim of a wider framework being developed, we have launched our Citizen Science Support Programme.

This programme will be application based, with funding available for projects that meet criteria, aligned with our company’s environmental objectives. Groups are encouraged to seek the support of a professional organisation such as a University, an environmental non-governmental organization (eNGO) or suitable authority. A proportion of the grant can be used to pay for guidance and oversight on, but not limited to, aspects such as design of the project, data management and analysis, training, logistics, and health & safety requirements.

This is to ensure that applications for project funding are well managed, undertaken safely, and offer worthwhile joined up evidence where possible. Similarly, that they are supported by relevant professionals/individuals with expertise in that area or subject matter, ensuring best value is achieved.

This programme is currently secured until 31st March 2025 and will enable citizen science groups and organisations to apply for up to £10,000 per project in a 12 month period. There is a cap on maximum funding available per year and we will be considerate of fair allocation across our operational area. We will update this page if this cap is reached and applications for that year will be closed. We will announce when applications are re-opened.

Information gathered can help identify areas requiring further investigation(s), asset inspection and potentially influence small scale investment. We will endeavour to support and where possible, act on findings where resources and regulation allows. In areas that require additional analysis, resource or regulatory requirements we will endeavour to provide information on how these could be incorporated in our wider Asset Management Planning (AMP) process, e.g. large scale investment needs are identified and to be agreed with our environmental regulators and OFWAT.

To learn more about how to apply, please see our Citizen Science Support Programme – Application Guidance document.