ARK eel release day and a reminder to be water smartToday, July 9, hundreds of baby eels (elvers) were released into the River Kennet by the primary school children who have been nurturing them for the last three months.
Four schools situated along the River Kennet - Preshute Primary, Marlborough St Mary’s, Chilton Foliat and Whitelands Park have been involved in the Eels in Schools project which has been run by ARK (Action for the River Kennet) in partnership with Thames Water.
Anna Forbes, ARK Project Officer & Volunteer Co-ordinator told marlborough.news, “The children have had to check the eels every day, make partial water changes, check the filters are working, remove dead ones and feed them with special eel granules that are high in protein and very smelly!”
“They have also learned about the amazing life cycle of eels whose eggs are hatched in the Sargasso Sea, drifting on the gulf current to transform into glass eels as they approach and come up the estuaries of the UK. It is these glass eels that have been looked after by the children.”
Amanda Lewis, Class Four teacher at Preshute Primary said, “We have all really enjoyed watching the eels, seeing them grow and learning about their life cycle. The project was perfect for our ‘What lies beneath’ topic.”
With the water level in the River Kennet falling due to the hot weather the children were reminded that they and their families and friends should be ‘water smart’. Local meteorologist Eric Gilbert recorded just 5.3mm of rain in Marlborough in June 2018, which is barely one-tenth of the normal rainfall that can be expected in June.
Charlotte Hitchmough from ARK said, “No one wants to see a situation where the rivers run dry, but we can all help to avoid reaching that point by using only the water we need.”
“In the Kennet Valley, the average customer uses 143 litres a day, if everyone in the valley saved 10 litres of water daily we could save up to 3 million litres every day – and every drop we save will be left in the river to support the wildlife that lives there.”
Simple small actions can all make a real difference:
- Take shorter showers – a four minute shower will on average use 40 litres of water, half what a bath would use.
- Fix leaks and drips – a single leaky loo can waste 400 litres of water a day.
- Don’t leave the hose running - a running hose uses 1,000 litres of water an hour.
- Water gardens in the evening when it’s cool, and only water where it’s needed.