Hi-tech sensors to track water quality in Esthwaite

  • Graythwaite Estate and United Utilities team up on tech trial
  • Real-time data will help develop action plan for cleaner lake and river


Hi-tech water quality sensors have been installed along one of the water bodies that flows into Windermere to help track water quality in real time.

The team behind the devices, called “sondes”, hopes this will help to identify factors that can affect water quality, so that a plan can be developed to improve it.

Landowner the Graythwaite Estate, which has joined forces with water company United Utilities, is hosting the sensors along the shore of Esthwaite Water and Cunsey Beck, trialling brand new technology. 

Ed Sandys, from the Graythwaite Estate, said: “We are delighted to host United Utilities on Esthwaite Water and the Cunsey Beck for the purposes of monitoring and recording data. We all have a responsibility to clean up our rivers and lakes and this is a positive step in the right direction.”

Sion Platts-Kilburn, Catchment Manager at United Utilities, said: “There are a range of factors that can affect water quality, including wastewater and land run-off, and these new devices will give us a level of insight that we’ve never had before.  Only by working together can we build up a picture of what’s going on along the entire lake and river, so we are really pleased to be working with the Graythwaite Estate team. We are looking forward to sharing the data more broadly.”

The new sondes, installed by RS Hydro, will be able to measure the water for a number of different factors, all at the same time.  These include organic material, bacteria, ammonia, nutrients such as phosphorus, water temperature and levels of oxygen.  These parameters together give a good indication of the health of a lake or river at a given time.

The trial has seen four of the devices installed – one at each end of Esthwaite and two along Cunsey Beck.

This is just the latest research project aimed at advancing the collective understanding of water quality conditions in and around Windermere.

The Love Windermere partnership has been carrying out a range of data-gathering research, including the Big Windermere Survey, a 100-strong, year-long citizen science project aimed at studying the entire Windermere catchment.