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River Data: Wharfe

The release of storm overflow discharge (Event Duration Monitoring) data has driven a high level of public interest and public debate into the operation of storm overflows and on the health of the UK’s rivers.

In addition, there is increasing public interest in the use of rivers for health and wellbeing, recreation and immersion sports. This has increased during Covid restrictions where people are connecting more with the natural environment for health and wellbeing.

On the Wharfe, a highly successful campaign by the Ilkley Clean River Group has led to the UK’s first inland designated bathing water and work is well underway to identify what needs to be done to produce compliant bathing water in the designated area. More broadly a wider “Healthy Wharfe” partnership has been created to develop a plan for good ecological status as a minimum for the whole river. This will become a central part of Yorkshire Water’s business plan for the next five year period.

Open data has been incredibly powerful in driving public sentiment and policy change by government and regulators. However, we want to find out if more could be achieved with better understanding of the existing data and its limitations and we also want to know what additional data could water companies and others release which would create a clearer picture of how drainage networks operate and the impact they have on rivers.

We'd like you to join us and collaborate with Yorkshire Water for a data hack which will start by looking at existing EDM data on the Wharfe and then look beyond that what further data could be released. The objective is to create a new open data standard for water companies and others to help drive improvements in our rivers.

This hack will take place in two stages.

We have hosted a virtual warm up session via Zoom 7th July 2021. For this, we sat down with Yorkshire Water and our network of sponsors and friends to define what the issues are with the current data and work out our priorities for the event are.

The second session on 20th July will be a hybrid unconference. The session format will be as follows:

The outputs from this session will be captured and written up and will live on this page and used openly as a resource for everyone. We’d like to turn these outputs into a series of recommendations for water companies, policy makers and regulators and if we need further sessions to achieve this then we will convene them.

Anyone who has an interest in the health of our rivers should attend. Campaign groups, academics, regulators and policy makers all have vital perspectives which need to be shared. We’re particularly interested in insights into how we can make data more accessible to the public so that people can have a much clearer view on the state of our rivers

The objectives are: