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Water quality

The Environmental Management Team carry out regular sampling and monitoring of water used within the Chichester District, which includes:

  • The risk assessment and monitoring of Private Water Supplies and Private Distribution Systems.
  • Providing advice regarding problems with mains water supplies.
  • Monitoring and publishing links to the bathing water quality sampling results for the three main EU designated bathing beaches in the district.
  • Monitoring and publishing the water quality sampling results from Chichester Harbour.

In addition, monitoring of water from a bottled water processing plant is regularly undertaken by the Health Protection Team.

Reporting water pollution

You can report Water Pollution to the Environment Agency.

Incident hotline: 0800 80 70 60. This is a 24-hour service.

There is further information on how Chichester District Council are managing water quality and wastewater in the Local Plan Area. There are also FAQs available to read.

Drinking water

Drinking water to residential or commercial premises may either be supplied by a mains supply, a private distribution system or a private water supply, such as a borehole or spring.

Most properties in the district are served with water via a mains supply, which is provided by a water company. Some rural properties however, get their water from a Private Water Supply such as a spring or well.

Mains water

There are three water companies that supply mains water to the majority of the properties in the Chichester District. These are listed below with contact information:

If you have any concern about the quality of your mains water you should, in the first instance contact your water supplier who will investigate your query. If after any investigation you are still concerned about the water quality, you can contact the council who can offer advice, and where appropriate investigate the problem.

Where you are concerned about other issues regarding your water supplier you should contact the Office of Water Services (OFWAT). OFWAT are the economic regulator for the water and sewerage industry in England and Wales.

Private distribution systems

There are many Private Distribution Systems in the Chichester District, where mains water is provided to properties though a privately owned and maintained network of pipes.

Under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2016 the District Council have a duty to risk assess and monitor all Private Distribution Systems.  If you are a consumer of water from a Private Distribution System and you have any queries about the quality of your water you should contact the council's Environmental Health Department.

Private water supplies

There are currently about 70 Private Water Supplies in the Chichester District serving approximately 1,500 properties.

These Private Water Supplies are fed from water extracted from natural springs, wells or boreholes. Some serve individual properties but many supply water to more than one property and in some cases this include quite a significant supply network to a large number of properties.

Under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2016 the District Council have a duty to risk assess and monitor the quality of the water from all Private Water Supplies that provide water to two or more properties. The owners and consumers of Private Water Supplies that only serve single properties can request also request a risk assessment and monitoring.

The District Council charges the owners of supplies for carrying out risk assessments, sampling visits and investigations. We also pass on sample analysis costs.  (Please refer to the related documents for further information on charges).

The District Council monitors the quality of water supplied by sampling for certain parameters specified in the legislation and for any additional chemical or bacteriological parameters, that are identified as potential contaminants of any given supply as a result of the risk assessment process.

How often we monitor, depends on the size of the supply (in terms of daily volume of water or commercial use) and the result of the risk assessment. Risk Assessments are useful in identifying potential improvements to supplies that will reduce the risk of contamination. Where supply owners rectify defects or put other control measures in place to minimise the risk, the frequency of monitoring may reduce (to the legal minimum level). In general, large domestic or commercial supplies will be monitored 2-4 times per year. Small domestic supplies will generally be monitored once every 5 years, although monitoring frequencies may increase if the risk assessment shows there is a risk of contamination of the water. Single domestic supplies are only monitored at the request of the owner/consumer of the supply.

The council charge for monitoring services. If an officer is required to come and take a sample from a premises, there is a visit cost of £100. We also pass on the cost of the laboratory analysis, at cost, to the supply owner, up to a maximum of £500 for large and/or commercial supplies or up to £25 for small domestic supplies.

It is the responsibility of the owner of a Private Water Supply to ensure that the supply is protected against any potential source of contamination. Where a failure in the quality is detected by the council, the owner will be required to take whatever action is necessary to ensure compliance with the required standards.

If you are a consumer of water from a Private Water Supply and you have any queries about the quality of the water you should contact the council.

The District Council may charge owners of supplies for other services provided under Private Water Supplies Regulations 2016.  For example, where we have to undertake investigations following failures of water quality or wholesomeness monitoring.  These charges and the ones detailed above are outlined in Annex 1 - Charges under PWS Regulations 2016.

Charges under the Private Water Supply Regulations 2009 (Word doc) [51KB]

Water Company Map (Word doc) [47KB]

Bottled water

There is a bottled water processor within the Chichester District that produces Natural Mineral Water.

The Health Protection Team monitor the quality of the water being bottled. This is a requirement under the Natural Mineral Water, Spring Water and Bottled Drinking Water (Amendment) (England) Regulations 2003.

Name: Water Quality


Chichester District Council
East Pallant House
West Sussex
PO19 1TY
United Kingdom


Tel: 01243534598

Bathing waters

Chichester district is located in a beautiful area of the south coast, which boasts an extensive area of coastline consisting of beaches and inland waters. There are three EU Designated Bathing Beaches and Chichester Harbour is very popular for sailing and other recreational activities.

The council is very aware of the importance of good water quality in these areas and together with other agencies carry out water quality monitoring.

The council in conjunction with the Environment Agency monitors the quality of the seawater along the coastline during the bathing season. The quality of the water has been consistently good. The three main beaches, West Wittering, Bracklesham Bay and East Beach, Selsey have been awarded the Solent Water Quality Award in recognition of their consistently good water quality.

Latest bathing water sampling results

Please see the Environmental Agency's bathing water quality (opens new window) webpage for sampling results.  

Yellow fish campaign

Chichester District Council has been working in partnership with Southern Water, since May 2018, on a two year project to ensure that the bathing water quality at Selsey is consistently classified as "Excellent" (when classified using the standards set out in the Bathing Water Directive). 

As part of this project we're aiming to raise awareness amongst the public that road drains and surface water drains are only designed to carry just rain water and no other waste.  These drains ultimately direct water into the sea, so disposing of pollutants, such as paint, oils or dog waste down these drains is like disposing of them straight into the sea.  Therefore, during the course of 2019, you will start to see stencilled yellow fish appearing close to drains in Selsey. 

The Yellow Fish project is a national campaign, created by the Environment Agency, which involves the stencilling of yellow fish symbols beside drains.  The symbols will help ensure people understand that the water from these drains goes to the sea and that the correct use of these drains is important, if we want to keep our bathing waters clean. 

We are proud that the bathing water quality at Selsey's East Beach was classified as 'Excellent' by the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs (Defra) for the 2019 bathing season.  We feel it is important that further work is undertaken to ensure this 'Excellent' status is retained in the future.

For more information on the "Yellow Fish" campaign and Southern Waters "Beauty on the Beach" please follow the link:

Recreational waters

Chichester Harbour Recreational Waters

Chichester Harbour is one of the most intensively used recreational waters in the UK. It is used by a large number of small boats and is extensively used for sail training. There is also considerable harvesting of shellfish within the harbour.

Therefore, the council, in conjunction with the Chichester Harbour Conservancy, monitor the quality of the water within the Chichester Harbour. Although there are no regulatory standards for such waters, the council use the EU Bathing Water Standards as a guide. These standards can be readily interpreted by harbour users. However, these can only be viewed as an indicator of potential pollution levels as the standards can only officially be applied to EU designated bathing waters.

2024 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [142KB]

2023 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [142KB]

2022 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [140KB]

2021 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [123KB]

2020 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [121KB]

2019 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [120KB]

2018 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [120KB]

2017 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [120KB]

2016 Chichester Harbour Water Quality Results (Excel doc) [123KB]

There are a huge number of factors that can affect the bacteriological quality of the water in the harbour; rain, temperature, sunlight, height of swell and the state of the tide.

There are several possible sources of pollution including diffuse runoff (that may include the faeces of livestock, wild animals and birds) from the land surrounding the harbour and its many tributaries. There can also be "Storm Water Discharges" from the Southern Water Waste Treatment Works and related sewer overflows. These discharges consist of sewage effluent mixed with rain water and can occur following periods of extended or heavy rain.

Generally the quality of the water in the harbour is excellent, but water quality can be compromised after periods of extended or heavy rain (especially if a "Storm Water Discharge" is in progress), low tides also reduce the dilution factor applied to any of the contamination sources.

Storm Water discharges can occur after heavy or prolonged rain and when the level of groundwater is high. In such conditions Waste Water Treatment Works are sometimes unable to cope with the volume of water delivered to them by the sewer system, in these cases diluted sewage that has only received primary treatment (the removal of some solid material) is discharged into the harbour.

Southern Water now have a Stormwater Discharge subscription service called Beachbuoy (opens new window) that provides alerts direct to your email address.

During and for several days following a discharge (dependant on volume of effluent released and other factors) it is likely that the bacterial quality of the water will be reduced. Water quality when measured against the Bathing Water Standards may well be poor especially at points in the vicinity of the discharge. Please note, although there are no regulatory standards for such waters the council use the EU Bathing Water Standards as a guide, which can be readily interpreted by harbour users. However, these can only be viewed as an indicator of potential pollution levels as the standard can only be applied to EU designated bathing waters.

We would advise users of the harbour during or in the few days following a discharge, that full immersion is not recommended and all cuts, open wounds and abrasions should be covered with a waterproof dressing. Normal hygiene measures are encouraged where physical exposure to water occurs (e.g. wash hands before eating).

Swimming pools

The Environmental Management Team investigate complaints about the quality of swimming pool water in pools open to the general public.  This includes seasonal outdoor pools and indoor pools open all year at a variety of premises such as sports centres, hotels, holiday camps and schools.

Where necessary advice is given to the pool operator regarding water treatment. In cases where gross contamination is found instructions are given for the pool to be closed to the public until such times as further sampling indicates it is safe to use again.