Our Bathing Water enhancement programme

Work on our innovative programme to improve bathing water quality is well and truly underway.

Latest news and information   
The background   
The sites  

2018 bathing season update

We’ve been working on ground-breaking, £31.5m investment programme non-stop since its launch at the start of bathing season last year. We thought the start of bathing season this year provided the perfect opportunity to give you an update on how our work is progression. 

We’ve completed a large portion of the misconnections work across our ‘magnificent seven’ bathing waters, and will have completed the corrective work in all locations   by the middle of August. 

We’re also pleased to announce that a further 17 bathing waters have been selected to receive additional funding, 14 of which were initially in the running for the Bathing Water Enhancement Programme. The work in these additional locations will include misconnections surveys and any correction work necessary, signage to encourage dog owners to clean up after their pets and various measures to reduce the impact from birds.

We’ve been working very closely with our local authority partners, who’ve been immensely supportive of the project and we’re really proud of what we’ve achieved together. 

Recent years have seen Southern Water invest millions on its wastewater network in order to reduce its impact on bathing water quality. However, bathing water is also affected by a range of other sources of pollution such as contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.

The additional 17 bathing waters to receive investment are:

Hill Head
Stokes Bay

Folkestone
St Mary’s Bay
Littlestone
Herne Bay Central
Herne Bay
Tankerton
Margate Fulsam Rock
Sheerness

Cowes
Whitecliff Bay
Yaverland

Bognor Regis Aldwick
Felpham
Brighton Kemptown
Shoreham Beach

The background

Our region boasts more than 700 miles of beautiful coastline – which is the lifeblood of many communities whether through tourism, business or leisure.

Over recent years, we have invested millions of pounds to reduce the impact of our wastewater network on bathing water quality. However, bathing water is also affected by contaminated rainwater running off roads and agricultural land, wastewater from privately-owned treatment works, boats and animals on the beach such as dogs and seabirds.

Our Bathing Water Enhancement Programme, investigates all of these issues and sets out a plan to collaborate with those with the power to fix them.

Our customers have backed the plans and told us they were willing to pay extra through their water bills to fund the improvements. We have earmarked £31.5 million for the programme – approximately £2 per customer over the five years of 2015-20.

The sites

The seven sites are:

  • Deal Castle, Leysdown and Minster Leas in Kent
  • Selsey, Middleton-on-Sea and Worthing in Sussex
  • Shanklin on the Isle of Wight

We always set out to deliver a further seven bathing waters to Excellent, but we want to do more to protect and enhance our coastline and put the valuable findings from our investigations to good use.

That’s why we have identified a potential for a second stage of work at six of the 14 bathing waters which were not selected. These six have a possibility of attaining the Excellent standard if some interventions are pursued.

We propose to work in partnership with the local authorities at these six and intend to contribute to the required improvements ourselves.

These six are:

  • Sheerness, Tankerton, Herne Bay and Folkestone in Kent
  • Stokes Bay in Hampshire
  • Cowes on the Isle of Wight

While the remaining eight bathing waters will not receive any funding from us, we will be working with the relevant local authority or other organisations to put our findings to good use and champion initiatives. This could include awareness campaigns to help improve bathing water quality, for example discouraging people from feeding seagulls.

These eight are:

  • St Mary’s Bay, Margate Fulsam Rock, Littlestone and Herne Bay Central in Kent
  • Brighton, Felpham and Bognor Regis (Aldwick) in Sussex
  • Hill Head in Hampshire