Water Quality Webinar 2024

The Devon Maritime Forum understands the continuing urgency to address water quality issues, and with a variety of influences over our water quality, it is imperative that we work together to formulate solutions. With two coastlines, water quality is crucial to life in the Southwest. Poor water quality affects people, wildlife and has direct negative consequences for the local economy, especially for fisheries and tourism.

In April 2024, the DMF hosted our annual Water Quality Webinar with nearly 80 attendees, as part of the South West Marine Ecosystems programme which reports on environmental observations and changes over the past year. A special thank you is extended to our excellent speakers, Nicola Rogers from the Westcountry Rivers Trust and Nick Paling from South West Water, as well as the Chair of the DMF Professor Edward Maltby.

The webinar began with a focus on how water quality in our rivers has evolved over the last year, including information about available data, and changes in monitoring and citizen science, to help build a picture about the state of the rivers and therefore our seas. A case study from the Dart and Tavy River Bathing Waters Pilot was also presented, with opportunity for attendees to ask questions directly to speakers.

During the webinar, we held a poll to capture attendees’ perspectives on the biggest threats to water quality. Below are the results from the three questions that were presented:

1. In your opinion which pollution sources have the greatest impact currently on our rivers and waterways? Please rank the following from 1 (most impact) to 7 (least impact).

53 responses.

2. In your opinion what will be the greatest pressures on our water resources? Please rank the following from 1 (greatest pressure) to 7 (least pressure).

50 Responses.

3. In your opinion what are the key enablers and solutions to improve UK water quality and river health? Please rank the following from 1 (greatest benefit) to 7 (least benefit).

47 Responses.

Additional responses were received by email and taken on board.

The outputs from this webinar were presented by Steph Harper-Chung (DMF Coordinator) at the annual South West Marine Ecosystems Conference at Plymouth Marine Laboratory, and will feed into the State of the South West Seas Report for 2023, due to be published in summer 2024. This document reports on the observations of species, ecosystems and management for the past year and aims to inform and influence approaches to tackling issues in our seas.

If you would like to learn more about the work we deliver as part of the South West Marine Ecosystems programme, below are some useful links:

Please note that the SWME report for the status of the past year (2023) will be published in summer 2024.

Thank you to everyone who participated in this webinar, we hope to see you again at future events.