Blue-grey worm

Water survey – join in now

The best time to do this survey is from May to November.

How healthy is your local lake or pond?

Tell us about animal life in your local pond

By taking part in the OPAL water survey, you’ll help scientists learn more about how polluted our lakes and ponds actually are – something we know surprisingly little about.

Good water quality is essential for the many animals and plants that live in and around our lakes, ponds and rivers. Unfortunately, water is easily affected by pollution from agriculture and industry, waste we throw away, and even pollutants in the air.

Look for clues in the water

Animals living in the water can tell us a great deal about how polluted the water may be. Some species struggle to survive in polluted waters, while others are more tolerant.

By telling us what life you see in your local pond you’ll discover more about the water's health and contribute to valuable scientific


Please show care and respect to our environment.

Ponds and lakes are home to many important creatures.

A good biosecurity routine is also essential to minimise the risk of spreading invasive species.

Find out more about biosecurity

Simple tests for water clarity and pH will provide further clues to the water quality.

How to take part

It's easy to join in. Start by downloading our free survey pack, which includes full instructions and identification guides.

Need more pH strips?
Email your address and the number you require to opal [at] imperial [dot] ac [dot] uk

Submit your results

Once you've completed the survey, please take the time to submit your results using our simple online form. Your results are important to us, even if you didn't manage to finish all the activities.

Problems entering your survey results online? Contact us or send your completed workbook and detailed location information to: FREEPOST RSCH-CHYJ-HYYC, OPAL, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ.

Explore the results so far

Compare health scores, analyse species distribution and view all the pond photos submitted so far.


Water activity sheets

Visit the OPAL Kids Zone for puzzles, games and amazing facts.



OPAL Water research

Learn all about the ongoing research of OPAL Water scientists.



Top ten tips for a healthy pond

Create the perfect pond by following these top tips from the OPAL Water Centre and Buglife.


Share your pond life photos

Upload your pictures of water boatman, beetles and other pond wildlife to the Guardian Flickr gallery.


Looking to further your interest?

Learn more about pond wildlife with Pond Conservation, or explore our useful links and resources.












The OPAL water survey is being led by the OPAL Water team at University College London.