Bathing waters and coastwatch

Beaches along the 560km coastline we serve are of exceptional quality and among the best in Europe.

Protecting water quality

To ensure high standards are maintained and water quality is protected, wastewater and stormwater discharges from our sewerage network and water recycling centres (sewage treatment works) are managed carefully by us.

However, there are a wide range of factors that affect the cleanliness of beaches, bathing waters and rivers, including agricultural and urban run-off.

Monitoring storm overflow discharges

We have installed monitors on all 1,295 storm overflows in our region to be open and transparent with customers and stakeholders about discharges.

We also aim to identify the ones that operate most frequently so that improvements can be made, as well as helping the Environment Agency monitor our performance.

These monitors feed into our interactive Coast and Rivers Watch map, which shows where they are and provides live information about when they operate.

Coast and rivers watch

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investment to improve approximately 600 storm overflows since 2000

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investment in storm overflows from to 2025

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of coastline in our region including the Jurassic Coast, a World Heritage Site

Working in partnership

We recognise that the quality of our recreational waters is a complex picture, with many contributing factors and stakeholders. Working together with the Environment Agency, councils and local groups is the only way to better understand the impacts on recreational waters from storm overflows and other sources. The changes we can all make and longer-term solutions, will enable us to enjoy our watercourses, coasts and seas.

We have been working with the Litter Free Coast & Sea partnerships in Dorset and Somerset for 10 years on the key issues of interest to local communities. The partnerships include local authorities, the Environment Agency, Catchment Partnerships and other stakeholders who are passionate about the quality of the coast and sea. Activities include developing local beach clean groups, running events for local communities to raise awareness, such as ‘Only Rain Down the Drain’; working with businesses to improve waste practices and reduce litter and education opportunities within schools.

Coast and Rivers Watch Annual Report

Near real-time bathing water notification

This report outlines the work we are doing for our coasts and rivers and outlines our coast and rivers watch service. Our real-time bathing water notification system which reports on when overflows are in use throughout the year.