Water is a precious natural resource which we have to protect and manage with care. The efforts of the European Union to ensure clean and healthy bathing waters commenced in the 1970s. The 2006 Bathing water Directive (the "new" Directive, repealing by 2014 the "old" 1976 Bathing Water Directive) has the purpose to preserve, protect and improve the quality of the environment and to protect human health. The provisions of the Directive include a number of obligations for Member States, as well as rules generally applicable all across the EU.
Every year the Commission publishes a summary report on the quality of bathing water, based on the reports that the Member States should submit to it before the start of each bathing season. At present, the Commission and the European Environment Agency publish an EU-wide report covering all 27 Member States, both in a paper version and an Internet version. Reports on individual Member States are also published but only on the Internet. Interactive maps on the Water Information System for Europe (www.water.europa.eu), providing users with detailed information on the quality of bathing water in individual bathing areas in the WISE viewer are also available.
One of the elements of the new Directive will be logos informing bathers in the vicinity of the beach on bathing water quality. The Commission adopted on the 27 May 2011 a decision establishing a symbol for information to the public on bathing water classification and any bathing prohibition. The adopted logos are already available.