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Raft race cancelled!

The Swinbrook River Day cancelled its much loved raft race this year. The duck race still went ahead.

The organisers did not want to risk the health of the competitors who often end up in the water so swapped it for Zorbing to keep people in a protective bubble. It did, however, look like a lot of fun!

WASP doesn't tell people to stay out of the river. We publish the facts and let people decide for themselves, so the River Day committee thought about it, and after writing to Thames Water, the decision was made.

We think they got it right. I took a small sample of invertebrates to demonstrate the method to a new volunteer and I found dead invertebrates. These things have a life cycle in the river. they mainly get eaten or they hatch into flies. Pollution or disease? Neither is an appealing scenario.

Dead invertebrates above. I was shocked to see this for the second time in about a month.

We know the recent rain created one known scenario for untreated sewage spills and we published the spilling from the land treatment area at Bourton about two weeks ago - and we had even more heavy rain since.

Above - Outfall from where the untreated sewage flows into ditches near Bourton and then into the Windrush.

We are trying very hard to persuade the Water industry and Environment Agency and Environment Minister to stop this practice. We find it amazing that we have to do this in the 21st Century!

Despite what we are told, it is not about stopping sewage flooding people's homes; that is a consequence of an inadequate and sometimes poorly maintained infrastructure. It carries on year after year so that the water industry does not have to spend the money required to address it.

When the next River Day comes around in two years time we hope that the Windrush will once again be clean enough to host that raft race and that everyone will enjoy the spectacl. Parents will be happy for their children to take part and we will be back on track for a healthy future.

Windrush above Bourton on the Water

This was the river at Swinbrook this morning when we took the tents down. Yesterday, so many people came up to tell me they had never seen the river looking so bad and those who were once sceptics were now very worried about what the future holds.

It does not have to be like this. When enough of you say this is not good enough for you and your children, and granchildren it will stop. WASP will help get your message across. Please help us to get the numbers.

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