State of the Beaches report 2013-14
Beach monitoring in NSW
The water quality of beaches and other swimming locations is monitored to provide the community with accurate information on the cleanliness of the water. This enables individuals to make informed decisions about where and when to swim. Routine assessment also measures the impact of pollution sources, enables the effectiveness of stormwater and wastewater management practices to be assessed, and highlights areas where further work is required.
Swimming sites in NSW are graded as Very Good, Good, Fair, Poor or Very Poor in accordance with the National Health and Medical Research Council’s 2008 Guidelines for Managing Risks in Recreational Waters. These Beach Suitability Grades provide a long term assessment of how suitable a beach is for swimming. The grades are determined from the most recent 100 data water quality results (two to four years’ worth of data depending on the sampling frequency) and a risk assessment of potential pollution sources.
A guide on how to read this report is available (SOB2014HowtoRead, PDF 186KB).
A total of 249 swimming locations along the NSW coast were monitored during 2013-2014. The Beach Suitability Grades for these sites are based on data collected over the last two to four years. Rainfall over this period has been diverse, beginning with sustained wet weather conditions and flooding along many areas of the NSW coast, and ending with well below average rainfall across the state and a lack of significant rainfall events.
Rainfall is the major driver of pollution to recreational waters, generating stormwater runoff and triggering discharges from the wastewater treatment and transport systems. Beach Suitability Grades at 29 sites improved this year due to the inclusion of water quality data from the drier 2013-2014 summer period in the assessment. Most improvements were from Good to Very Good grades.
The summary provides an overview of the results for ocean beaches, estuarine beaches, coastal lakes and lagoons and ocean baths, information on how to read this report and quality assurance (PDF 1.1MB).
Launch of State of the Beaches report 2013-14
The 25th annual State of the Beaches Report found NSW beaches are among the best in the world.
Page last updated: 16 January 2015