In Environment

New South Wales Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton

2018 A Great Year For Clean Beaches

Victor P Taffa

New South Wales beaches have returned one of their cleanest years in nearly a decade, according to the latest state-wide annual Beachwatch report.

“For the first time since 2010, 85 % of the state’s swimming sites are rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’, and there have been improvements across the board.” Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton said.

“Estuarine swimming sites have never been this clean, with a record breaking 81 % listed as ‘good’ or ‘very good’.”

“In addition, a staggering 98 % of ocean beaches were shown to be clean and safe, as were 4 of the 5 ocean baths.”

“More importantly, the number of swimming spots that lifted a grade (18) is higher than those that dropped (11), which is a significant achievement.” Minister Upton said.

State of the Beaches report is an overview of water quality at swimming locations monitored by the Office of Environment and Heritage. Local councils and water authorities are responsible for their cleanliness.

Daily beach pollution forecasts are issued for Sydney ocean and harbour beaches and can be accessed from the Beachwatch website, email subscription, Twitter and Facebook.

“There have also been some significant category improvements.” Minister Upton said.

“Number of clean estuarine swimming sites rose by 8 % (from 73 % last year to 81 % this year) and the number of clean lake and lagoon swimming sites rose from 43 to 45 %.”

“While these figures are welcome, they also show there is still work to be done.” Minister Upton said.

“According to the report, coastal lakes, lagoons and estuarine swimming spots were adversely affected by heavy rainfall.”

“There are also concerns about some Sydney Harbour beaches and the New South Wales Government is working with the relevant councils to develop a whole of Sydney Harbour coastal management program to achieve similar outcomes on a city-wide basis.”

“2 Sydney Harbour beaches (Northbridge Baths and Gurney Crescent Baths) scored ‘fair’ and 12 estuarine beaches in less well-flushed sections of estuaries were graded ‘poor’.” Minister Upton said.

Some sites on the Central Coast scored poorly while safe during dry weather, moderate rainfall caused some microbial levels to rise.

NSW Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton

NSW Minister for Environment Gabrielle Upton










  • 90% of the 97 Sydney region swimming sites tested rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with improved water quality at 7 sites and decreased scores at only 4. Total score up 1% on last year.
  • 78% of the 18 North Coast swimming sites rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with 2 downgraded.
  • 84% of the 38 Hunter region swimming sites rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with improvements at 7 sites.
  • 53% of the 32 Central Coast sites rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ a decline from the previous year due to changes in the monitoring program rather than water quality.
  • 100% of the 21 Illawarra beaches rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with improved water quality at one beach.
  • 100% of the 35 South Coast region sites rated ‘good’ or ‘very good’ with 2 sites showing decreased water quality.



Sydney’s world famous Bondi Beach


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