The history

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Life's a beach in the South West

Clean Sweep - our £2 billion project to transform the region's bathing waters and sewerage network - is complete.

During the past 18 years, 250 crude sewage outfalls have been closed and 140 complementary projects carried out.

The result is that, for the first time, all 144 bathing sites in the South West meet the EU mandatory standard.

Chief Executive Chris Loughlin said: "In 1989 we inherited a water system suffering from a century of neglect. We now have some of the finest beaches and coastal walks in the world."

Malcolm Bell, Chief Executive of South West Tourism, one of Clean Sweep's leading supporters, said: "Without Clean Sweep, the tourist industry would have been destroyed."

To mark the completion of Clean Sweep, the largest environmental programme of its kind in Europe, South West Water has published a report assessing its impact and the wider benefits brought to the region.

The report also highlights the next series of challenges. Top priorities are a steady supply of water, measures to meet future economic and population growth and action to counter the effects of global warming.