Beauty of the beach

It's a tale as old as time....welcome to Beauty of the Beach!

From childhood memories of trips to the seaside to long walks in the winter sun; family picnics dodging the seagulls and brushing sand (or shingle!) off your sandwiches – life can be a beach when you live and work by the coast.

That's why Southern Water and the Environment Agency have joined forces on a campaign to celebrate our coastline – and help people play their part in keeping the beaches beautiful. 

The great news is bathing waters along our region’s 700 miles of coastline, which cover Kent, Sussex, Hampshire and the Isle of Wight, have never been cleaner in recent times.

However, the way bathing water quality is measured changed in 2015 and standards are now twice as strict as before – which is why Southern Water is joining forces with our friends in the Environment Agency to address issues which affect bathing water quality.

So as well as celebrating the 83 beautiful bathing waters in the region, through 'Beauty of the beach' we want to help people learn more about what impacts bathing water quality and give YOU the power to protect your beaches by taking some simple steps.

Never fear – you don’t have to live on the coast to help – visitors to our sunny shores play just as important a role in protecting and enhancing our coastline.

Beauty of the Beach - part 2

Following on from last year’s film about the beauty of the beach….we’ve gone and made another one!

This time, we’ve focused on the work of our new bathing water manager, Tom Gallagher. His job is to work closely with the Environment Agency, local councils and wildlife and community groups to help protect the quality of the bathing waters in our region, and enhance the beauty of our entire coastline.

Our new film provides a snapshot into his world and the issues that are important both to him and the people he works with.


There are loads of things you can do to help improve the beauty of the beach!

7 things you can do to help

1. Make sure all your rubbish and litter goes in a bin, whether you're at home, out and about or down on the beach – and recycle wherever possible.

2. Why not take part in a two minute beach clean? Every piece of litter removed from the beach matters. Just two minutes' worth of activity will help protect the health and welfare of our beaches, bathing waters and the animals and marine life that live there. For more information, please visit:

3. Don’t pour fat, oil and grease down the sink. It can harden in pipes and cause wastewater to back up - polluting the environment. And forget the common misconception - mixing fat with hot water and washing up liquid doesn’t make a difference! So let it cool, pour it into a suitable container like an old plastic bottle, and put it in the bin.

4. Dog, bird and other animal poo can affect bathing water as it often contains high levels of bacteria (much higher than treated human waste). That's why you should always pick up your dog poo and put it in the bin - preferably one specifically for it, if possible. 

5. Don't feed the birds! When they flock for tasty morsels, they tend to poo. The more you feed them, the more they come back and the cycle continues.

6. Put unflushables like wet wipes, tampons, nappies, cotton buds, razors and condoms in the bin. Flushing anything other than the 3Ps – (pee, poo and paper) down your toilet can cause serious blockages.

7. Look out for misconnected drains and poorly located and maintained septic tanks in your home, as they can pollute surface water systems. By looking after your home you can improve your beach too. The ConnectRight website has further information on how to make sure you don't have misconnected drains.

Facts and stats

  • The beaches in Southern Water's region have the highest number of blue flags of anywhere in the country.
  • There are 1,100 kilometres of coastline in our region
  • There are 83 designated bathing waters that sit within our region
  • The beaches are one of the South East’s greatest assets and are vital to the local economy. 
  • Bathing water quality is of key importance to Southern Water customers – more than 92 per cent of the 27,000 customers and stakeholders we surveyed for our current Business Plan told us they wanted us to do more to improve bathing water quality and that they were willing to pay more on their bills to facilitate the extra work required to achieve this. 
  • Bathing waters along our region’s 700 miles of coastline have never been cleaner in recent times.
  • The way bathing water quality is measured changed in 2015 and quality standards are now broadly twice as strict as before.
  • Bathing water quality is affected by a range of factors including rainwater from roads and land, wastewater releases (SW and privately-owned), shipping and wildlife.
  • We work closely with local councils and the Environment Agency to address issues which affect bathing water quality.
  • Our Business Plan promises to bring a further seven bathing waters up to “excellent” standard  by 2020 and we are currently looking at where we can make improvements.

Why not check out our new campaign video, made with real members of the community with a passion for their beach.

A huge thanks to Tom Evans from the Environment Agency in Sussex, Dave Melmoth from Joss Bay Surf School in Kent and Vanessa Churchman from the Isle of Wight... Of course, the real stars of the show are the beautiful beaches in our region - we hope you enjoy it!

In this pack we’ve put together everything you need to design and deliver your own successful Beauty of the Beach bathing water awareness campaign. The pack includes some useful copy and imagery for you to use, offers tips on social media, messaging and creating a clear call to action.

By working together on this issue we can take a consistent, co-ordinated approach to encouraging the whole community to take action to protect and enhance our bathing waters.

Download our Beauty of the beach pack