The best time to do this survey is from May to November.
How healthy is your local lake or pond?
By taking part in the survey, you’ll help scientists learn more about how polluted our lakes and ponds 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 you find in your local pond you’ll discover
more about the water's health and contribute to valuable
Please respect our environment. Ponds and lakes are home to important creatures.
A good biosecurity routine is essential to reduce the risk of spreading invasive species.
How to take part
Step 1 – print the documents below, ideally in colour.
Step 2 – You'll need a few household items (listed in the
field guide) and some pH strips (available from most garden centres).
Step 3 – Choose a suitable pond or lake. We've prepared a guide to help you find a pond.
Step 4 – Tell us what you find using our simple online form.
Ready to enter your results online?
Once you've completed the survey, simply submit your results using the online form.
Problems entering your survey results online?
Send your results to: FREEPOST RSCH-CHYJ-HYYC, OPAL, Centre for Environmental Policy, Imperial College, South Kensington, London SW7 2AZ.
Need more pH strips?
Email your address and the number you require to firstname.lastname@example.org
Downloads – what you need to take part
Field notebook (PDF, 838KB) - Background information and recording sheet
Field guide (PDF, 905KB) - Full instructions and invertebrate guide
OPALometer (PDF, 29KB) - A printable OPALometer
Amphibian identification guide (PDF, 367KB)
Dragonfly identification guide (PDF, 197KB)
Duckweed identification guide (PDF, 215KB)
Alternatively, download the whole survey pack as one zip file
Complete Water Survey pack (ZIP, 2.62MB) - All the instructions, guides and downloads above in one zip file
You may download these documents for use in the context of the OPAL project only. All other rights are reserved.
Group leader and safety information
Group leaders may benefit from our support pack with information and ideas on planning a group event, and additional safety information from the Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents (RoSPA).
Group leaders support (PDF, 388KB)
Group safety at water margins (RoSPA) (PDF, 432KB)
Children's activity sheets
Test your water knowledge and learn fascinating facts with our water activities for youngsters.
Ten tips for a healthy pond
Create the perfect pond by following these top tips from OPAL scientists and Buglife.
Pond tips (PDF, 134KB)