NSW State of the beaches 2022-2023 report

The Minister for the Environment has released the NSW State of the beaches 2022-2023 report, which shows 96% of monitored beaches have excellent water quality.

Looking along the long stretch of beach at Botany Bay, Sydney, which includes Monterey Baths

The confirmation of excellent water quality at almost all our beaches, up from 94% in 2021–2022 is a welcome result given the wet weather and flooding experienced over the reporting period. Many coastal areas experienced their wettest July on record, and more heavy rain and flooding through winter and in spring.

Four ocean beaches have been upgraded to very good – Coledale in the Illawarra, Fingal Bay and South Stockton Beach in the Hunter, and Malua Bay on the South Coast. Two ocean beaches have been upgraded to good – Toowoon Bay on the Central Coast and Caseys Beach on the South Coast.

Five ocean beaches have been graded as poor, including Malabar Beach which takes longer to recover from stormwater events than surrounding areas, and Coogee Beach where work is progressing to improve stormwater diversion.

Despite record rainfall, NSW swimming spots overall have performed well in the report. Seventy-three per cent of monitored sites received good or very good water quality results. It is a slight decline on 2021–2022, as a result of wet weather. Estuarine swimming sites are more susceptible to the effects of excessing rainfall and stormwater events, with just over half graded as good or very good.

State of the Beaches grades are compiled from water quality samples collected at sites monitored under the Beachwatch and Beachwatch Partnership programs. In 2022, Beachwatch expanded statewide to include inland waterways and freshwater swimming sites in the monitoring program. Sites include ocean beaches and baths, estuarine areas, lakes, lagoons and freshwater swimming spots.

Swimmers can check beach grades on the Beachwatch website at beachwatch.nsw.gov.au.

The NSW State of the beaches 2022–2023 report can be viewed online.


Quotes attributable to Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe:

“As we head into swim season it is great news that 96% of our monitored beaches have excellent water quality.

“Rainfall is the main reason water quality changes, and we had a lot of it in 2022. As a result, many inland and freshwater swimming sites did not perform as well as our ocean beaches.

“While 96% of beaches have excellent water quality, the Beachwatch website has real-time information for swimmers who want to check conditions after rainfall.”