We aim to ensure that the rivers, lakes, groundwater and coastal waters of East Hampshire and West Sussex are protected and improved for current and future generations to enjoy.
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We  like to partner with farmers and landowners to use our resources 

Workshops and events for everyone

Forthcoming events are regularly posted on the workshop pages

Apply for grants

A number of farms have made successful applications to the scheme

Area covered

The map to the right below shows the extent of the project area, which runs from east of Southampton to Bognor Regis. Click on the image to enlarge it. The area includes the rivers, groundwaters and coastal areas listed below.

Rivers in the Downs and Harbours area are predominently fed or influenced by groundwater. These rivers are:


  • Hamble

  • Meon

  • Wallington

  • Lavant (Hants)

  • Ems

  • Lavant (West Sussex)

  • Lavant

  • Aldingbourne, Pagham and other rifes


Groundwater areas utilised by Portsmouth Water to provide drinking water supplies for parts of Hampshire and West Sussex
  • Aldingbourne

  • Brickkiln

  • Eastergate

  • Fishbourne

  • Havant & Bedhampton Springs

  • Funtington

  • Lavant

  • Lovedean

  • Lower Upham

  • Maindell

  • Newtown

  • Northbrook

  • Soberton

  • Slindon

  • Walderton

  • Westergate

  • West Meon

  • West Street

  • Woodmancote

  • Worlds End 




The chalk Downs of the project area include important public water supply aquifers. Portsmouth Water has become increasingly concerned about rising nitrate levels in the groundwater, leading to a deterioration in raw water quality at key sources. This deterioration increases the need for blending of sources or additional treatment with a longer term risk of drinking water standard failures in the future.

The project is focused not only on the groundwater boreholes themselves but also the surrounding catchment or Source Protection Zones (SPZ). These SPZs cover the land most at risk of contamination from any activities that might cause pollution in the area.

For a full description of an SPZ and to see whether your land falls within one, follow this link to the Environment Agency website; click on the groundwater and SPZ link and search for your postcode.

Coastal Areas

These include:

  • Portsmouth Harbour - Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI), Special Protection Area (SPA) & RAMSAR

  • Langstone Harbour - Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI)

  • Chichester Harbour - Site of Special Scientific Interest (SSSI) 

  • Chichester & Langstone Harbours - Special Protection Area (SPA) & RAMSAR Solent Maritime - Special Area of Conservation (SAC).

The semi-enclosed harbours are particularly affected by the excessive algal growth resulting from elevated nitrate levels in water and estuarine sediments. As a consequence, large areas of coastal SSSI and Natura 2000 sites in the Eastern Solent are in unfavourable and declining condition.


On this website you can find out all about our work to help conserve and enhance this special area. If there is information that you cannot find, would like to see added to the website or if you would like to raise an issue, Please contact us or complete the enquiry form below.
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