Farmers visit Hardham Water Supply Works

Last week 14 local farmers and officers from the Arun & Rother Rivers Trust and Natural England visited the Hardham Water Supply Works to get a first-hand understanding of the challenges faced in producing high quality drinking water.

Enjoying a tour of Hardam Water Supply Works 

Southern Water’s Catchment Risk Management Team have been working with farmers of the Rother Valley Farmers Group to help reduce risks to raw water quality in the area.

One of the main issues at Hardham is the high level of sediment in the raw water abstracted from the Western River Rother. This is due in part to soil erosion from agricultural land in the catchment.  Pesticides are another key issue, particularly metaldehyde, which cannot be removed from water by standard treatment processes.

Seeing where sediment is dredged from the river at the abstraction point (left); Sludge removed from the raw water (right)

The visit gave the farmers an insight into Southern Water’s work both in the catchment and at the treatment works.  Seeing the large volume of sediment and sludge removed from the raw water brought home why manging the land to reduce soil erosion in the first instance is so important.

The Catchment team is working with farmers and other stakeholders across our operational area to address the risks to drinking water quality. Contact the team at to find out more.