Understanding what makes Britain’s drinking water amongst the best in the world


British tap water is among the best in the world with millions of tests conducted annually to guarantee the best possible quality of water for consumers. Actually making tap water the most regulated drink out there!

You can find out more about water quality at here.

And we at Southern Water – who provide wholesome drinking water for 2,549,000 customers across Hampshire, the Isle of Wight, Kent and Sussex - are committed (as well as bound by law) to ensuring that every drop of the nearly 550 million litres of water we supply each day is treated and safe to drink and this applies to all water we supply, even though just 4% is used for drinking or cooking.

The DWI is the drinking water quality regulator in England & Wales and they continuously check that our water supply meets the standards as set in the Water Quality Regulations for safe human consumption.

The standards cover how the water should look and taste, and sets prescribed (min / max) concentration or values (PCV) of micro-organisms, chemicals (e.g. nitrate, pesticides) and metals (e.g. lead, copper).

We have a statutory duty to supply wholesome water fit for human consumption under the Water Industry Act. This means our water cannot exceed PCVs, must not contain anything at a level which could be a potential danger to human health and be acceptable to customers.

We are required to self-monitor the quality of our water supply by taking more than 200,000 samples at our Water Supply Works (WSW), service reservoirs and at customers' taps every year to ensure it is in accordance with the regulatory requirements.

Water Quality is a hugely important and very serious matter and not something to ever be made light of.

We have recently become aware that an independent beverage seller of flavoured electrolytes with sweeteners, has used figures from the DWI without context to try and promote sales of their products.

They have taken figures that we and other water companies provide to the DWI out of context and implied that this represents the normal quality of the water received at homes and businesses – promoting the story into the media to achieve free press coverage for their product and hits to their website.

We wish to address it because we do not want customers to think their water is anything but wholesome.

Dr Guy Franklin, Head of Water Quality & Compliance, Southern Water, says:

“Southern Water would never knowingly supply water which did not meet the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s stringent standards – it is worth noting our drinking water has some of the most stringent regulations in the world, even more so than bottled water.

“By law water quality tests are made at our sites and by sampling teams visiting homes every day and our water supply works are constantly monitored. In the event of any problem which would lead to water quality dropping below required standards we would immediately inform customers and tell them what action to take – we assure customers that you would hear it from us first.

“The figures quoted by this website reference an issue that was detected and reported to the DWI. We take water quality very seriously and acted immediately to protect customers and keep water supplied within required standards.

“Since 2019 we have also invested continuously to make further ongoing improvements to our water supply network.”

Protecting public health and adhering to our industry’s regulations is our number one priority.

see how we make water safe to drink have a look at this article.