Every year the United Nations recognise today, the 22nd March, as World Water Day.

This year the UN focus is on the theme of ‘Water and Jobs,’ the importance of which is laid wide open by the fact that almost half the global working population work in water related sectors.

That’s 1.5 billion of us who rely on water for our working lives alone – not to mention the need for water underscoring every single aspect of our lives.



Water and the Westcountry Rivers Trust
WRT_logo_90Here at the Westcountry Rivers Trust, water is central to our working lives. Although we come from diverse backgrounds (fisheries, ecology, land management, GIS mapping, ecosystem services, geography, marine biology…), we are brought together by the knowledge that our rivers are hugely important.

Rivers are the source of much of our drinking water, they support our country’s rich wildlife, control flooding and, over millennia, have shaped the valleys and rolling hills that make our beautiful West Country landscape. We realise that rivers mean a huge amount to us all, not just at the Westcountry Rivers Trust. Each of us has great memories of picnics, fishing trips, boat outings and walks along one of our many stunning rivers.

All of this drives us to improve our local rivers and working for the Westcountry Rivers Trust gives us a great opportunity to play our part.  Here is an insight into the importance of water for our team…



Hazel Kendall, Head of Land Management

HazelIn a nutshell: what is your job at WRT?

Operating as part of a team who are passionate about making positive change for land and water.

How would your life be different without rivers?

I’m very lucky that rivers play a big part of my leisure time as well as my work. I am aware there are many people in the world who don’t even have the luxury of clean drinking water, so we should take a reality check every once in a while.

What do you love about working on the river?

I like the opportunity to demonstrate exactly how much rivers can & do provide, and how important they are for society. People are naturally drawn to them; I think it’s one of our primitive drivers whether we consciously think about it or not.   We should be protecting and enhancing them as part of a more sustainable future for our natural resources.



Bruce Stockley, Head of Fisheries

In a nutshell: what is your job at WRT?Bruce_Stockley

Turning great ideas into action to restore our rivers

How would your life be different without rivers?

My life would have more salt in it!

What do you love about working on the river?

Rivers, good or bad, are the combination of nature, and thousands upon thousands of tiny human actions adding up into a single flow of water.  By thinking about rivers we force ourselves to look up and out onto our landscape, and can never dodge the fact every action we take has a consequence, good or bad for the environment that we need to support us body and soul.



Matt Healey, Land and Fisheries Officer

FoweyIn a nutshell: what is your job at WRT?

I’m a land and fisheries officer so my role involves engaging with landowners with regards to land management and how that affects water quality and advise on improvements for the efficiency of land management practices (such as clean and dirty water separation on farm yards, fencing etc) and for fisheries; water quality, and habitat improvements and river accessibility for the benefits of biodiversity, monitoring for water quality and fish numbers to assess fish populations and measuring change from our interventions.

How would your life be different without rivers?

My life would be different without rivers because I wouldn’t have a job! Or a drink

What do you love about working on the river?

What do I love about working on the river? Wildlife, tranquillity, beauty, solitude.


Yog Watkins, Senior Land Officer

In a nutshell: what is your job at WRT?IMG_0270

In a Walnut sized shell – My job is a mixture of advice, education and encouragement. I advise both farmers and other farm advice workers; I educate both this and the next generation of farmers and land managers of ways to improve profitability, whilst also having a positive impact on the environment; and finally encourage people to think differently and look at their businesses more holistically, but still pay attention to the finer details.

How would your life be different without rivers? 

Life without rivers – Thirsty. Obviously I love rivers, you can’t really do this job if you don’t. If there were no rivers I’d probably be back at my desk publishing books on why aren’t there silvery snakes of water passing through our landscape. They bring the landscape to life, and life to the landscape.

What do you love about working on the river?

Working on rivers is both rewarding and frustrating. When you see positive changes in the landscape you know that they will have beneficial impacts on the wider catchment ecosystems, and you know you’ve added something to your landscape; conversely when you see a landowner carrying out actions following advice to the contrary, that you know are not going to be either beneficial to them or the river, man that’s frustrating. I hope that over time (given time and resources) the rewarding elements will far outweigh the frustrations.