top of page

Evidence & Maps 

Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 10.52.38.png
Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 11.27.16.png
Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 11.54.23.png
Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 09.31.21.png

The EA classifies the Ecological status of Rivers by monitoring aquatic lifeforms and chemical pollution in our rivers on a six-year cycle - not all parameters are measured every year. The data is used to classify water bodies within a river system, as Excellent, Good, Moderate or Poor. The Government moved our legally binding target (before Brexit) for all rivers to achieve Good Ecological status, from 2027 to 2063. Avon River Champions wants a more ambitious target of 2030 to be restored. (see Devon River Manifesto) The EA has ‘low confidence’ in the target that 37 of our water bodies in South Hams will reach Good Ecological Status by 2027. The Devon South Management Catchment summary covers 66 water bodies in South Hams. indicates that Agriculture is responsible for 52 ‘Reasons for Not Achieving Good’ (RNAG) whilst SWW is responsible for 26 RNAG (EA) . Whilst the volume of pollution is not reflected in these figures, it remains clear that agricultural pollution is of serious concern.

The Rivers Trust provides explanations and caveats to the EA data on Combined Sewer Overspills (from Event Duration Monitors), warning that the data is collected and presented in a way that may not accurately reflect the extent of the problem. They cite 'poorly placed' equipment and unmonitored 'emergency overspills' as areas where full recording needs to be achiveved. The flow (volume of spill) from each CSO is not yet required to be recorded or published. The Sewage Map can be displayed with different Layers (see menu button top right of map) - this allows viewers to see satellite views of surrounding fields, roads and urban developments.

In 2023, water companies completed the installation of spill monitors at every storm overflow in England. However, not all storm overflows had monitors installed and working in 2021 and 2022. This means it is difficult to make direct comparisons over time. (More information on long-term trends - follow the link for EDM in header) This data is the source for the Rivers Trust Sewage Map.

Surfers Against Sewage offer a free App providing real time sewage alerts to water users on a map.  This map tracks real-time sewage discharge and pollution risks around the UK using data from water companies and the Environment Agency.

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 09.54.42.png
Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 12.22.54.png
Screenshot 2024-06-18 at 15.08.34.png

Water quality at designated bathing water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency. From May to September, weekly assessments measure current water quality, and at a number of sites daily pollution risk forecasts are issued. Annual ratings classify each site as excellent, good, sufficient or poor based on measurements taken over a period of up to four years.

With the exception of Mothecombe Beach (Good) all our local Designated Bathing Water Sites are of Excellent status.  Water quality at Designated Bathing Water sites in England is assessed by the Environment Agency.  From May to September, weekly assessments measure current water quality, and at a number of sites daily pollution risk forecasts are issued. Annual ratings classify each site as excellent, good, sufficient or poor based on measurements taken over a period of up to four years.  Surfers Against Sewage are critical of the Environment Agency designation of water quality at Designated Bathing Water Sites.  They claim that the sampling protocol (when, what and how many samples) is inadequate.  Surfers Against Sewage proclain that “The headlines across the four nations this year are that there have been little to any improvements in water quality and in a lot of cases a drop in the number of designations in the Excellent category, and in England especially an increase in those categorised as Poor. The number of bathing waters designated as Poor in England has increased from 12 to 18, which is absolutely unacceptable. What is more, under law, those which are classified as poor have to have an action plan for improving water quality, but still several, especially those on our already sparsely monitored and designated rivers, have now been classified as poor for up to three years.

The Waterfit Live interactive map allows you to see if any of SWW storm overflows have been operating at your local beach to an extent that they may have temporarily affected bathing water.

Registered Citizen Science Investigators contribute to local data which is accessible to those working in the catchment. Viewers can click on the dots to read the observations recorded by other CSI volunteers. Annually the data is analysed by WRT and a Score Card is created for each catchment based on water quality and biodiversity.

Screenshot 2024-06-23 at 10.25.09.png
Screenshot 2024-06-21 at 14.31.22.png
Screenshot 2024-06-22 at 05.09.46.png

An interactive map details the EA sampling points taken for a range of reasons (agriculture, pollution/investigations, sewage discharges water company, sewerage system discharges, sewage, sewage and trade combined, trade etc).

The Water Quality Archive (2000 to present) provides data on water quality measurements at sampling points around England (coastal or estuarine waters, rivers, lakes, ponds, canals or groundwaters). They are taken to check for compliance against discharge permits, investigation of pollution incidents or environmental monitoring. To find data relating to your catchment you will

Local Nature Reserve, Site of Special Scientific Interest can be located on an online map. The environmental condition of these sites are measured by Natural England. The designations range from ‘destroyed’ to ‘favourable’.

Location of sewage works that are owned and operated by South West Water. The data is divided into 2 layers, that can be toggled on and off. Larger Waste Water Treatment Works (WwTW) and Smaller Waste Water Treatment Works (Small WwTW). You can select the check boxes to choose between layers showing Small, Medium and Large Sewage Treatment Works: Small Size - E.g. Population served under 2000 Full Sized - E.g. Population served greater than 2000 Note: If you click on each marker, you will be able to view asset ID, which is handy for looking things up. Like CSO performance.

bottom of page