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Region’s bathing waters benefiting from better teamwork as beach season starts

Teamwork between Southern Water and its coastal partners is giving bathing waters a boost this beach season as communities come together to protect and enhance these leisure hotspots. 

Teamwork between Southern Water and its coastal partners is giving bathing waters a boost this beach season as communities come together to protect and enhance these leisure hotspots. 

Mid-May marks the official start of the UK’s bathing water season and the beginning of the Environment Agency (EA) annual testing programme, where water quality samples are taken at the 87 designated bathing waters in our region – up from 84 thanks to a new government announcement this week.  

Today, Southern Water has also published its annual Bathing Water Report, exploring what the company is doing to protect and enhance our priority coastal environments. 

When the last results were published in November 2023, 88% of our 84 designated bathing waters were rated ‘good’ or ‘excellent’ by the government – and we are working closer than ever before with all partners who share responsibility for water quality to keep up and improve on those standards. 

Southern Water already has one of the most ambitious plans in the water industry to reduce storm overflows with its £1.5 billion Cleaner Seas and Rivers Project set to start next year, adding to £40 million of ongoing spending on pilot schemes now – and widespread investment in wastewater treatment along the coast.  

But in many areas, water quality challenges come from other or multiple sources – this is why working with partners is so important and is yielding results. 

Southern Water’s Open Water Lead Tom Gallagher said: 

“There are many factors which affect bathing water quality: the condition of private sewage facilities such as cess pits; road and farm run-off; private waste pipes illegally plumbed into surface water drains, and litter or dog poo on the beach, to name just a few.  

“Working closely with councils, regulators and communities to investigate the true impact on water quality and take action is vital, and we are seeing some strong step forwards in this teamwork. After all we all want the same thing – healthy seas to enjoy.” 

For more information, visit our Bathing Waters webpages. 

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