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River levels

In some areas, we rely on rivers at Southern Water for the water we supply to our customers. However, the twin pressures of more extreme weather events and a growing population are stretching these finite natural resources.

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In some areas, we rely on rivers for the water we supply to our customers. However, the twin pressures of more extreme weather events and a growing population are stretching these finite natural resources.

River flow data

The graph below shows recent flow data for the River Test during the winter of 2022-23. (source: The Environment Agency)

River Test March 2024

The River Test

This graph shows recent flow data for the River Test during the winter of 2022–23. (Source: The Environment Agency)

River Itchen March 2024

The River Itchen

This graph shows recent flow data for the River Itchen during the winter of 2022–23. (Source: The Environment Agency)

The River Test

This graph shows recent flow data for the River Test during the winter of 2022–23. (Source: The Environment Agency)

River Test March 2024

The River Itchen

This graph shows recent flow data for the River Itchen during the winter of 2022–23. (Source: The Environment Agency)

River Itchen March 2024

As the risk of drought in Hampshire has reduced, we’re taking a break from publishing our river flow reports. We’ll publish these again here if, and when, levels become a concern.

In the meantime, further information on river flows can be found on the EA Hydrology Data Explorer page: https://environment.data.gov.uk/hydrology/explore and the National River Flow Archive: https://nrfa.ceh.ac.uk/

The flow triggers are used to give us warning of when we may be at risk of breaching our licence condition for our abstraction on the River Test (the ‘hands-off flow’ condition), which is when we must stop abstracting and are linked to the actions we must take to protect supplies as set out in our Drought Plan. Flows are currently well above these trigger thresholds.

In order to protect supplies to our customers and in accordance with our Drought Plan, we must apply for a drought permit to allow us to continue abstracting if flows fall below the hands off flow condition.

‘The graph shows recent flow data for the River Itchen during the winter of 2023-24. (source: The Environment Agency)’

The ‘hands off flow’ on the River Itchen relates to the licence conditions for our abstractions on the River Itchen. As with the River Test, the flow triggers are used to give us advance warning of when we may be at risk of breaching our licence condition for our abstraction on the River Test (the ‘hands-off flow’ condition), which is when we must stop abstracting and are linked to actions we must take to protect supplies as set out in our Drought Plan. Flows are currently well above these trigger thresholds.

Daily river flows

The EA monitors UK rivers and publishes daily river flow data to see the latest updates about a river near you, visit the EA's Hydrometic Data page and click on the rivers represented by a red dot.

Protecting Hampshire's rivers

During 2019, new rules were introduced to protect the Rivers Test and Itchen by controlling when we could take water for our customers. As a result, Hampshire faces an increased risk of drought during dry weather.

Find out how we're keeping customers' taps flowing while protecting Hampshire's rivers.