Northumbrian Water′s Water Ranger initiative last week celebrated four years of volunteers helping them to protect and improve 56 of the region′s waterways which are more prone to pollution.
The event, organised by Northumbrian Water, was held at the National Glass Centre in Sunderland as a thank you to volunteer Water Rangers who have reported over 350 issues since the launch of the initiative in December 2014.
Wastewater Director, Richard Warneford, said: "We are incredibly proud of our community initiative and proud to have hosted our fourth annual celebration event to celebrate the amazing work of our volunteers but most importantly, it′s an opportunity for us to personally thank them and key partners who support what we do.
"The Water Rangers initiative has been hugely successful and reflects our commitment to looking after the environment. On a number of occasions, our volunteers have helped us spot and deal with potential pollution threats to the environment at the earliest possible opportunity.
"It′s important to react as quickly as possible when pollution occurs but we′re proud that our volunteers are acting as extra eyes and ears, helping us to prevent it from occurring in the first place."
Volunteer Water Rangers patrol over a combined total of 74 kilometres of waterways every week or fortnight, reporting their findings after their patrols so that any potential pollution can be dealt with quickly.
Water Rangers also report on issues that are not the responsibility of Northumbrian Water such fly tipping, fallen trees, abandoned shopping trolleys, defects in footpaths and missing life buoys so that this information can be passed on to relevant authorities to deal with.
Jesmond and Ouseburn Water Ranger, Nick Atkinson, said: "It′s fantastic to be part of this community initiative helping to protect and improve our region′s waterways. I feel proud to be a Water Ranger and helping to make a difference to the environment.
"My daughter Grace loves joining me on my patrols with her four legged assistant. She′s learning invaluable things about the environment and wildlife from being involved with Water Rangers."
Assistant Water Ranger, Grace Atkinson, aged six, said: "I like going out for walks with my daddy and helping out. Our Sausage Dog, Sizzle, likes to come on our walks too."
For more information about the Water Rangers scheme, https://www.nwl.co.uk/your-home/environment/water-rangers.aspx
Everyone can do their bit to keep watercourses and bathing waters in our region healthy and clean by only flushing toilet paper, pee and poo down the loo and by making sure that the drains that serve homes and businesses are connected to the correct sewer.