Rethinking Water Citizens’ Juries overview information page

Closes 1 Apr 2025

Opened 22 Feb 2021


The Environment Agency and its partners are holding five targeted Rethinking Water Citizens’ Juries to discuss the important question:

  • How do you connect with water in your local environment, and what needs to be changed in the future to benefit people and wildlife?

This is about involving communities in decisions about the future of their local river. Listening and working with others to understand their priorities is an essential element of helping us develop our ambition for water: to lead the way for clean and plentiful water for all.

The citizen juries’ recommendations will be presented to our board and help us prioritise our work to achieve our EA2025 goal of healthy air, land and water.

What is a citizens’ jury?                  

Put simply, it’s a way to make decisions. Juries are used across the world as a way to bringing communities together to look at issues and come up with ideas. They are formed from a randomly selected group of people who broadly represent the entire community. The people who attend juries learn about specific topics or issues, discuss them with one another, and then make recommendations about what should happen next.

The Rethinking Water Citizen Juries will be run by an independent charity, Involve Foundation, who will act as the main point of contact for jury members throughout the process.

Local and national advisory panels made up of a range of organisations from public, private and charity sector helped to shape the events and provide evidence. This helps to ensure the process is unbiased and fair.

The panels made decisions about the recruitment process and the jury profile; they also selected who gave presentations to the juries and answered questions from them.

photo showing the lower Ouseburn flowing through an urban area with flats and old factory building

Photo of the lower Ouseburn flowing through an urban area.

How were the jury members selected?

The Sortition Foundation, a not-for-profit limited company uses the Royal Mail postcode address file database of addresses to source and invite local individuals representing the full diversity of the area.

For data protection reasons we will not release any details of these individuals.

Where are the juries being held?

The five citizens’ juries will bring together (online) a diverse range of people who live, work or play in and around the River Ouseburn (North East), River Wharfe (Yorkshire) and the Thames Valley (Chilterns), River Thames Estuary (South East) and Windermere (Lake District) 

Why are we providing this information?

Although the juries are invite only, for the sake of transparency we are keen to ensure that everyone is able to see the recommendations they make and the information that led them there.

All of the presentations given to the juries are available to view on the links below once the jury has taken place, along with their recommendations.

More Information

Involve: The Involve Foundation (‘Involve’) is the UK’s leading public participation charity with offices in London, Edinburgh, and Belfast. They work towards creating a more vibrant democracy, with people at the heart of decision-making. Involve’s mission is to develop, deliver and campaign for new ways of involving people in the decisions that affect their lives. Since the organisation was founded in 2003, they have worked with governments, parliaments, civil society organisations, academics and the public across the UK and internationally to put people at the heart of decision-making.

Involve will be leading on the design and delivery of the Rethinking Water Citizens’ Juries and will act as the main point of contact for jury members throughout the process.
For more information on Involve, please visit their website at:

The Sortition Foundation: The Sortition Foundation is a not-for-profit company that promotes the use of citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ juries in decision-making, and specialises in recruiting random and representative samples of people for these events. Our aim is to ensure that the recruitment method used for citizens’ assemblies and citizens’ juries is as transparent and as legitimate as possible, and that we get as close as we can to the ideal of every person in a community having an equal probability of receiving an invitation to take part, and that the final selection of the assembly participants is as fair as possible.


More Information

Membership includes: 
Leeds University
Royal Society for the Protection of Birds (RSPB)
Yorkshire Rivers Trust
The Rivers Trust
Northumbrian Water
National Farmers Union
Salmon and Trout Trust
University of the West of England
Water Hub / University of Durham
Natural England
Shellfish Association
Consumer Council for Water

Citizen Juries

Citizens’ Jury for the Ouseburn River in Lower Tyne Ouseburn: 21 Jan -30 Jan 2021

Recommendations and presentations: here

River Wharfe Citizens’ Jury on Rethinking Water: 25 Feb - 6 March 2021  

Recommendations and presentations: here

Thames Valley Citizens’ Jury on Rethinking Water: 18 March - 27 March 2021

Recommendations and presentations: here

Tidal River Thames Citizens’ Jury on Rethinking Water: 3 March - 19 March 2022

Recommendations and presentations: here

Windermere Citizens’ Panel on Rethinking Water: 22 March - 27 March 2022

Recommendations and presentations: here



  • NGOs
  • Environmental bodies
  • Members of the public
  • Community groups
  • Non-governmental organisations with an interest in environmental issues


  • Business and industry
  • Flood management
  • Coastal management
  • Fishing and boating
  • Water resources
  • Water quality
  • Drought
  • Habitats and wildlife
  • Permits
  • Environmental permitting