WaterFuture - Get into water

The quality of the aquatic environment in which we live is a top priority for us. We’ve invested billions of pounds over the last two decades ensuring that we protect and enhance the rivers and coastal waters of the region.

The long term transformation of bathing water quality in our region is largely due to our £2.3 billion investment which has seen over 200 raw sewage discharges stopped and modern sewage treatment provided in over 40 major engineering projects.

As a result our region can now boast some of the finest bathing waters and beaches in the whole of Europe, attracting record levels of tourists and investment.

We are also committed to keep beach users informed about how our discharges affect bathing waters. You can get real-time bathing water alerts for your favourite beaches from our award-winning BeachLive website.

River water quality is the key focus of our Upstream Thinking Programme which is working with farmers and landowners to keep pollutants out of the rivers above our water treatment works. This work has the potential to benefit our rivers all the way down to the sea and also has benefits for water storage.

Downstream Thinking is aimed at preventing sewer flooding and pollution by building sustainable drainage systems (SuDS) in towns and cities. The approach is also about working together with other agencies responsible for flooding to find whole catchment solutions to problem flooding areas.


The rivers of the South West have seen important quality improvements in terms of waste water since 1989.

While the Clean Sweep has focused on coastal waters, we have also been investing heavily to support the regeneration of our local rivers.

Over the period, approximately £100million has been invested into inland waste water, ensuring our rivers and estuaries remain healthy ecosystems to support strong fish stocks and other wildlife that local industries rely on.

According to the Environment Agency's 2006 Chemical Survey, which measures the levels of pollutants in the water, 100% of the rivers in Cornwall and 98.91% of Devon's rivers were of good or fair quality.