OPAL Water Survey

Data entry for the OPAL Water Survey is now closed.  However, survey resources and identification guides can still be downloaded for free below. 

Thank you to all those who took part in the survey!

Survey data submissions can be viewed on the OPAL Data Explorer. In addition, Water Survey data will soon be available for download from the OPAL website.


How healthy is your local lake or pond?

Pond dipping

Good water quality is essential for the many animals and plants that live in and around our lakes, ponds and rivers.

Unfortunately, water is easily affected by pollution from agriculture and industry, waste we throw away, and even pollutants in the air.

Animals living in the water can tell us a great deal about how polluted the water may be. Some species struggle to survive in polluted waters, while others are more tolerant.

By taking part in the OPAL Water Survey you’ll discover more about the health of ponds in your local area.

The best time to do this survey is from May to November.

How to take part

  • Step 1 – Print the documents in English below, or in Welsh, ideally in colour.
  • Step 2 – You'll need a few household items (listed in the field guide) and some pH strips (available from most garden centres).
  • Step 3 – Choose a suitable pond or lake. We've prepared a guide to help you find a pond.

Downloads – what you need to take part

Survey pack

Also available:

By downloading this survey you agree to the terms and conditions for the OPAL Water Survey

Group leaders and schools

Download our group leader support guide, example risk assessment, and our new recording sheets for schools:

Group leaders may benefit from our support pack with information and ideas on planning a group event, and additional safety information from the Royal Society for the Protection of Accidents (RoSPA).

Children's activity sheets

Test your water knowledge and learn fascinating facts with our water activities for youngsters.


10 tips for healthy ponds

Create the perfect pond by following these top tips from OPAL scientists and Buglife.

Show you care

Please respect our environment

Ponds and lakes are home to important creatures.


A good biosecurity routine is essential to reduce the risk of spreading invasive species:

Watch it