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Bathing water results

Our region includes more than 700 miles of coastline which plays an important part in the local economy. We’re committed to protecting these coastal waters to make sure they are of the highest quality.

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An overview of the report

We now have 100% of Event Duration Monitors (EDMs) installed on our storm overflows, which tell us how often a release occurs. We then share this data with the Environment Agency and with customers via our Beachbuoy tool.

In 2023, we reported a total of 829 storm overflow releases. This was an increase from the previous year, however, there was a significant increase in rainfall in 2023 which is a major factor in storm releases.

We're working hard to improve bathing water quality. This includes making repairs on our network, resolving misconnections on customer pipes and developing improvement plans.

 

A bar chart that shows the Rainfall vs storm overflow releases between 2020 and 2023

Rainfall vs. storm overflow releases

At the beginning of the 2023 bathing season, groundwater levels were exceptionally high. This increased the impact of each rainfall event and led to a greater spill count.

Rainfall vs. storm overflow releases

At the beginning of the 2023 bathing season, groundwater levels were exceptionally high. This increased the impact of each rainfall event and led to a greater spill count.

A bar chart that shows the Rainfall vs storm overflow releases between 2020 and 2023

Annual bathing water quality results from Southern Water

The quality of the UK’s bathing waters is monitored by Defra and the Environment Agency. These are the current statuses for bathing water at beaches across the South East*. 

  • 48 are rated ‘Excellent’
  • 26 are rated ‘Good’
  • Six are rated ‘Sufficient’
  • Four are rated ‘Poor’

*This relates to the 84 bathing waters as classified in November 2023. 

Below is a further breakdown by county.

The Environment Agency – weekly water quality results and beach profiles

Our region has 87 designated bathing waters - increasing from 84 the previous year, with the addition of Rottingdean, Goring and Worthing Beach House. Click on the county below and select the name of the bathing water to view the Environment Agency’s weekly bathing water quality results, along with links to their beach profiles**.

** The data shown in the drop-downs below is sourced directly from the Environment Agency's website.

An aerial view of boats moored at Chichester Harbour

Beachbuoy – near-real-time water quality updates

The 700 miles of coastline in our region are the lifeblood of many of the communities we serve – whether through tourism, business or leisure.

Over recent years, we have invested millions of pounds to improve the quality of the bathing waters in our region.

You can also use our Beachbuoy tool to find out more information about storm overflow releases. This interactive map provides near-real-time data about release activity in our designated bathing waters.