NSW beaches looking good

This year’s annual beaches scorecard rated 84 per cent of NSW swimming sites as Good or Very Good, slightly higher than last year’s result of 83 per cent, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton announced today.

Freshwater Beach on Sydney

The annual scorecard provides ratings for 250 swimming sites, (ocean beaches, ocean baths, estuarine, lake and lagoon sites across NSW), including 140 ocean beaches.

“Despite many of the state’s coastal areas recording their wettest March on record, 98 per cent of the state’s monitored ocean beaches rated as Good or Very Good, making NSW beaches some of the cleanest in world,” Ms Upton said.

“Beachwatch’s water quality monitoring shows that Sydney’s beach water quality has improved dramatically over the last two decades.”

There were strong results for the Newcastle, Illawarra and South Coast regions. Despite the wet conditions Central Coast’s beaches showed an overall improvement, with Chain Valley Bay being upgraded to Good from Poor in the previous year.

Last year’s heavy rainfall and certain major storms impacted water quality at a number of estuaries, lagoons and lake swimming sites during the year.

“Heavy rainfall generates stormwater, a major cause of pollution to recreational waters,” Ms Upton said.

“Councils and water authorities are constantly investing in improving water quality. It’s important to remember whatever is thrown on the ground may end up in stormwater and eventually lead into waterways.”

Heavy rain from Sydney’s East Coast Low event in June 2016 caused flooding across the city. Persistent rain fell in February and March, which was the wettest for Sydney since 1975.

The Beachwatch program is run by the NSW Office of Environment and Heritage, in partnership with 10 councils, Sydney Water Corporation and Hunter Water Corporation.

State of the Beaches 2016-2017 report