Bathing water in Europe needs to comply with standards set in the 2006 Bathing Water Directive, which must be implemented by December 2014. The EU publishes an annual summary report on the quality of bathing water, based on reports that the Member States should submit before the end of the previous year. In this year's report, all 27 Member States as well as Croatia, Montenegro and Switzerland monitored and reported bathing water quality, most of them according to the new provisions.
Two thirds of bathing sites were in coastal waters and the rest in rivers and lakes. The largest number of coastal bathing waters can be found in Italy, Greece, France and Spain, while Germany and France have the highest number of inland bathing waters.
Laboratories analysed levels of certain types of bacteria, including intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli bacteria, which may indicate the presence of pollution, mainly from sewage or livestock waste. Sites are classified as compliant with mandatory values, compliant with the more stringent guidelines, or non-compliant.
European citizens can find out about the water quality at their favourite swimming spot by checking the Water Information System for Europe (WISE). The site allows users to download data and check interactive maps. People can also report the state of their local water using the Eye on Earth website.
For more details see:
The 2012 EU Bathing Water Report, including data and map viewers