December Update

Water quality round-up 

Southern Water regularly samples water from fixed locations on the River Beult, and wider Medway, to help us understand what the risks are and where they are coming from (see map below).   

The River Beult water quality monitoring sampling map.

In this Asset Management Plan (AMP) period (2020-2025) we have a focus on pesticides, and particularly herbicides like propyzamide.  Propyzamide is found in products like AstroKerb and Kerbflo and is commonly used in agriculture on winter beans and oilseed rape. 

The graph below shows propyzamide concentrations found in the River Beult from 2021-2023 

Please note graph only shows results up to 1.00 but the table shows 2021 result which was higher. 

Propyzamide concentration graph.


Propyzamide concentrations tend to spike seasonally, between November and February.  This coincides with the application period and wet weather over the winter months. 

In addition to propyzamide, the following pesticides (not all of which will be from agriculture) have been found in the River Beult above the drinking water standard of 0.1µg/l in 2023: 

List of pesticides found in the River Beult.

By following best practice farmers can help to keep Plant Protection Products (PPPs) out of water courses.  This will save money on inputs, reduce the risk of further regulation and help to protect our natural environment and drinking water supply.  Advice on best practice use of PPPs can be found here: 

Avoid pesticide contamination from the field – CFE Online 

Stewardship | Propyzamide | Oilseed Rape Herbicides | Corteva Agriscience™  

Funding is available to help with yard improvements and buffer strips, etc, through both private and public schemes, and extra help and advice may be available.  Please contact Robin Kelly ( for details. 


Skippy Scout trial, Year 2 

In 2022 Southern Water began working with DroneAg and a group of arable farmers in the Western Rother and Beult river catchments to trial the use of Skippy Scout.  Skippy Scout is an innovative software that uses drones to capture high resolution images of crops to help make informed management decisions.  As this tool is developed farmers may be able to target applications of fertiliser and pesticide more effectively.  This may reduce on-farm costs, as well as protecting water quality, biodiversity and looking after our precious soils. 

The farmers involved met again this November to give feedback to DroneAg and discuss the development of the tool.  The meeting was kindly hosted by Andrew Gwillim at Rushbrook Farm. 

A group of people standing in a field in the upper beult.

The plan is for Skippy Scout to gain more functionality over the next 12 months, including features for planning fertiliser use more efficiently, integrating the mapping outputs with commonly used agricultural systems and more effective mapping of weed hotspots. 

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