The prestigious Best Community Led Project in the UK Water Efficiency Awards has been won by ARK with its ‘Care for the Kennet’ campaign, which has been running in partnership with Thames Water.
Campaigning to protect the long-term environmental health of the famed chalk stream, ‘Care for the Kennet’ has helped educate 12,000 people in the upper Kennet area in Marlborough about the link between their tap water and the river it comes from.
This has been especially important during one of the worst drought seasons earlier this year, which has been followed by record rainfall, which has helped to revitalise the river.
Presenting the prize during a ceremony at the House of Lords, attended by more than 100 guests, Defra’s water minister Richard Benyon, credited Care for the Kennet with helping to support his department’s national ‘Love Your River’ initiative.
The judges described the project as both elegant and inspirational.
Charlotte Hitchmough, director of Action River Kennet, told Marlborough News Online: “Working with the schools and communities around the upper Kennet has been great fun and I am delighted that so many people took the water saving message to heart and are now using less water.
And also now understand more about their river.”
She added: “I am particularly proud of Ramsbury Primary School whose ‘Save Water – Save the Kennet’ march through the streets of Ramsbury was an inspiration to us all.”
Richard Aylard, sustainability director for Thames Water, said: “While we may walk or drive across our local river every day as we go to work or drop the children off at school, it is easy to overlook the simple fact that water from that river is what comes out of our taps and showers.”
“Care for the Kennet seeks to remind us of that, and how moderating our daily water use can help protect this glorious river. Come rain or shine we urge everyone to value this precious resource and use it wisely.”
Anyone can still sign up for a free water saving makeover by calling 0800 358 6665 and quoting “kennet”.