Northumbrian Water is hailing the work of its team of incredible volunteers, who patrol and protect 74 kilometres of vulnerable watercourses across the North East, as part of a national annual celebration. 

The North East community programme, Water Rangers, was introduced by Northumbrian Water in December 2014 and was the first of its kind launched in the UK Water industry.


Every year, Volunteers' Week is celebrated between 1-7 June, as a thank you to the millions of people volunteering across the UK.


For over five years, Northumbrian Water has worked in partnership with passionate volunteers, from a wide range of communities, in a bid to help protect 56 of the region's waterways that are more prone to pollution.


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Simon Cyhanko, Head of Wastewater Networks at Northumbrian Water, said: "We're incredibly proud of our community initiative and of the amazing work our volunteers do, in helping us to protect the environment.


"Our community initiative has been hugely successful and reflects our commitment to looking after the environment. On a number of occasions, volunteers have helped us spot and deal with pollution threats at the earliest possible opportunity, often preventing potential incidents from happening in the first place.


"We always appreciate the work of our Water Rangers and Volunteers' Week gives us the opportunity to showcase their amazing efforts."


Water Rangers also report on issues that are not the responsibility of Northumbrian Water such as 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.


Dave Groark, who is a volunteer Water Ranger, said: "It's wonderful to be part of this community initiative helping to protect and improve our region's waterways. I find being a Water Ranger very rewarding and its fantastic seeing the scheme celebrating its fifth year."


Volunteers regularly patrol a combined total of 74 kilometres, which is equivalent to walking from Durham to Amble in Northumberland, and report their findings after their patrols so that any potential pollution can be dealt with quickly.


North East Water Ranger, Steve Green, said: "I'm passionate about doing my bit for the environment and it's great to be part of this community scheme.


"The programme is really making a difference in protecting the environment, bringing communities together and helping to improve our rivers for generations to come."


Everyone can help do their bit to keep watercourses and bathing waters in our region healthy, by not using toilets as a bin and binning the wipe. Wet wipes should not be flushed down the loo as they can harm the environment and cause flooding to homes, as well as communities.


Customers can also help by making sure the plumbing inside their homes and businesses is connected to the correct sewer, and not to a surface water drain which will feed into a nearby watercourse.