Water is essential for human life, nature and the economy. The EU’s water policy has been successful in helping to protect water resources, and the quality of EU bathing sites is a good example. The efforts of the European Union to ensure clean and healthy bathing waters commenced in the 1970s. The 2006 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.
However, there remain obstacles preventing a better protection of Europe's water resources. To identify them and propose proper solutions, the Commission launched in 2012 the Blueprint to Safeguard Europe's Water Resources.
Every year the Commission and the European Environment Agency publish a summary report on the quality of bathing water, based on the information provided by Member States. The an EU-wide report covering all Member States, as well as Switzerland and Croatia is already available. Information on individual sites is also published: interactive maps and tabular viewers with detailed information on the quality of water in individual bathing sites 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.