Daily Beach Pollution Forecast
Beachwatch issues daily beach pollution forecasts for swimming sites in the Sydney, Hunter, Central Coast and Illawarra regions.
During the summer swimming season (October to April) the forecasts are issued before 7:30am, 7 days a week.
Outside of the swimming season (May to September) the forecasts are issued before 9:30am, 7 days a week.
The forecast is updated throughout the day if the conditions change.
How to access the forecast
There are lots of ways you can access our beach pollution forecast:
How to read the forecast
Each site that we monitor has an icon to indicate the likelihood of pollution:
||Pollution is unlikely.
||Pollution is possible, so check the water for signs of pollution such as water discolouration or floating debris before swimming.
||Pollution is likely, so best to avoid swimming today.
||Updated information available. We report on beach closures and pollution incidents, so hover over the icon to see the updated information.
If you want more information about a site, hover over its icon and a popup will appear.
Why we forecast
It's tricky to provide up-to-date information on water quality when bacterial results are not available for two to three days after we collect a sample.
We overcome this challenge by predicting the likelihood of pollution using rainfall data.
We've determined rainfall thresholds for each swimming location by analysing rainfall and bacterial data collected over the last five years. Each morning, we obtain rainfall data from a network of more than 40 gauges. We then compare how much rainfall has fallen near each swimming site with its rainfall threshold to determine the likelihood of pollution:
- Unlikely – rainfall is below the threshold and there is unlikely to be pollution.
- Possible – rainfall has exceeded the threshold, but not by much. Pollution is possible, so check the water for visual signs of pollution such as water discolouration or floating debris before going for a swim.
- Likely – rainfall has exceeded the threshold and pollution is likely.
Always look out for visual signs of pollution and don’t swim if you think it might be polluted:
- Fast flowing or strong smelling stormwater drains
- Street litter such as drinking straws, food wrappers or leaves floating in the water or on the tide line
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Page last updated: 06 November 2015