WEST Sussex has some of the worst water issues in the UK, according to new findings.

The 2021 Water Index found that West Sussex featured in the top ten of all counties in the UK, based on risks to the water supply.

The rankings have been put together by health drink brand Vidrate and are based on data from the government’s Drinking Water Inspectorate collected in 2019.

West Sussex was given a score of 322 based on risk of contamination and water plant failures.

This is after the failure of the ozone plant at the Hardman Water Treatment work, owned by Southern Water, in Pulborough in 2019.

According to the Chief Inspector of Drinking Water’s report, an investigation was launched to establish the cause of the ozone plant failure, which found that one of the ozone generators was leaking ozone into the plant room.

But there was no evidence that unwholesome water was supplied to consumers as a result of the process failure.

Southern Water completed hazard reviews of all their assets after the event.

The biggest water issue was in Newcastle, Gateshead and South Tyneside where 659,835 people were at risk of cryptosporidium contamination.

Cheshire and Merseyside faced the same problem but received a lower score despite affecting 1.2 million people.

Southampton and the Isle of Wight had the third biggest score when E. coli was found suggesting sewage or animal waste contamination which can cause serious illness.

Dr Guy Franklin, Head of Water Quality at Southern Water, said Southern Water would never knowingly supply water which did not meet the Drinking Water Inspectorate’s stringent standards.

He said: "We invest continually to ensure there is a secure and wholesome supply of drinking water.

"With 13,500 km of network 88 water supply works and 206 individual water storage reservoirs, dealing with occasional equipment failure is part of daily life for a company which serves customers not just in Sussex but from the Isle of Wight in the south to Thanet in the north.

"Our region is water stressed and ensuring security of supply is a key priority for us.

"Tests are made at our sites and by sampling teams visiting homes every day and our water supply works are constantly monitored.

"In the event of any problem which would lead to water quality dropping below required standards we would immediately inform customers and tell them what action to take – we assure customers that you would hear it from us first.”

For the full findings, visit https://www.vidrate.co.uk/pages/water-index