There are not many rivers that you would consider drinking directly from if you were thirsty and yet, for the majority of human evolution, this was an unquestionable norm. We now rely on engineering and chemistry to bring our polluted water clean to us for consumption. Dutch-based NGO ‘Drinkable Rivers’ came into existence when ecologist and founding member, Li Ann Po, asked herself the question ”how have we come to this?”
Our rivers are in a poor state worldwide. The causes are complex and numerous but the driving force behind these issues are human ones. Inspired to make a difference, Li Ann Po decided to set the bar as high as possible, to strive for drinkable rivers! Far too often our policy makers don’t push beyond the minimum recommendations needed to improve our ecological footprint on the planet but Drinkable Rivers’ approach is different.
With over 120 hubs in countries all over the world, Drinkable Rivers is community-led; with emphasis on engagement with landowners, farmers, industry, councils, schools and businesses, they are making a difference. A difference that can, at first, be a litter-free river, a swimmable river, an ecologically diverse river, a community or multiple communities, a respected river… a drinkable river!
This month Drinkable Rivers is walking the Thames river in England, from source to sea, holding workshops, engaging with communities, schools, landowners, and policy makers along the way.
Clochán Uisce is the first Irish hub for Drinkable Rivers, taking water measurements from the rivers Feagle, Argideen, Bandon and soon, the Ilen. The group then uploads them to the Drinkable Rivers international database, which is monitored by ecologists based in the Netherlands. The aim of the database is to build a profile of the health of our rivers around the world, share ideas, discuss problems and find solutions.
For more information and to follow the progress on the Thames walk and previous events visit www.drinkablerivers.org and check out Clochán Uisce on Instagram.