The Directive on bathing water quality at the heart of future European discussions


To echo the article published on the 25th of June this year by The European Agency for Environment and the European Commission concerning the report on the quality of European waters, Surfrider Foundation Europe will take part in discussions to revise the Directive on the surveillance of bathing water quality taking place in 2020-2021.

Surfrider’s 20 years expertise on the subject

Surfrider Foundation Europe has been working on the topic of water quality and the public health for the past 20 years. The association has managed to boost territorial consultation and acts through numerous programs and campaigns in favor of reclaiming water quality in European coastal waters. 

It is particularly thanks to the implementation of additional monitoring laboratories on water quality in different territories (Mediterranean, Aquitaine, Brittany, Spain, etc.) and water sports sites that Surfrider Europe has developed a proper expertise in this field.

Since initiating the first focused campaigns on water quality monitoring more than 15 years ago, the association is now an active voice in the European commission’s governing body on bathing water expertise which is responsible for the Directive revisions planned for next year.

Demands on a par with the issues at stake?

The 2018 yearly report on European bathing water quality published on the 6th of June (cf previous article) declares that more than 85% of bathing areas evaluated in Europe in 2018 were ranked “Excellent Quality”.

Compared to lower averages in year’s prior, this is great news for the state of European waters. Nevertheless, it remains important to stay vigilant towards upcoming threats of ocean exploration and new forms of pollution.

Based on the yearly report from the World Health Organization (WHO) Surfrider Europe recommends strict, committed and shared revisions to the bathing water Directive including:

  • Increasing the frequency of analyses during the surveillance period;
  • Extending the period of surveillance;
  • Varying the times of day the samples are taken;
  • Promoting “quick” analysis to provide active management;
  • Developing predictive models and modelling;
  • Extending sanitary surveillance to areas with nautical and recreational activities;
  • Devising common information documents to be used in each member state;
  • The surveillance of other variables in the Directive allowing to classify a bathing area including waste found in the water, chemical pollution, etc.

Everyone has an active role to play!

Most of us have, at one point of another, gone for a swim in the ocean, sea, a river or lake. It's clear to see that water quality is an issue that concerns us all. We must demand that EU member states and supervisors obtain a water quality ranking of the highest level, free from health risk.

Now Surfrider wants to hear from you! Make your opinions on water quality heard by participating in our public questionnaire:

Learn more

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