Water Quality testing begins off Hayling Island

Monday, 5 September, 2022

Southern Water has launched a real-time water quality testing buoy off Hayling Island. Water quality is an important public issue, with stakeholders calling for Southern Water to take a leading role to ensure the public are informed about water quality in the Solent. This is the second water quality buoy Southern Water has launched this summer, with the other one off Tankerton shore.

Southern Water has been working closely with the Environment Agency, local authorities, Proteus Instruments, and the University of Portsmouth, to test, calibrate and launch the buoy.

Havant Borough Council and Southern Water are partnering to deliver this sophisticated 12-month pilot. If successful, lessons from this project may be used to inform future schemes.

The monitoring device is fixed to a buoy around 400 metres offshore of Hayling Island. It automatically measures the water quality every few minutes, which Southern Water and its partners will openly share with the public later this year, once calibration and further testing is complete.

Dr Nick Mills Head of Southern Water’s Storm Overflow Task Force said: “This is exciting progress to test innovative technology to deliver real-time water quality data to the public. Project partners have worked hard to get this buoy launched and are pioneering the way in the water quality testing space. Southern Water is taking the lead on innovation and data transparency and proving that partnership working is essential to deliver for the public.”

Cllr Elizabeth Lloyd, Havant Borough Council's Cabinet Member for Water Quality said: “The ability to deliver real-time water quality information to residents and visitors, who wish to enter the sea off Hayling Island, is a positive step. It will also enable Southern Water to analyse water quality as and when concerns are raised, rather than relying on intermittent testing giving an overall rating of the quality of the bathing water, each season. I am pleased to see all the hard work of the partnership coming into use.”

Professor Alex Ford, University of Portsmouth, said: "We are delighted to be supporting this exciting project helping to calibrate the water quality buoy in the Solent. These devices, which have the capacity to monitor water quality in real-time on coasts and rivers enable scientists to better understand the impacts of sewage discharges and the risks posed to recreational water users. We fully expect these kinds of devices to be the future of water quality monitoring by the water industry and regulatory authorities with nationwide arrays providing substantial data which will benefit scientists investigating water quality, coastal development as well as climate change."