Ireland - with its long coastline, beautiful beaches, inland waterways and lakes - provides many opportunities for water-based activities. Swimming and other water-based recreation can have important benefits for health and well-being.
However, the natural environment can become contaminated, for example by inadequately treated wastewater and agricultural run-off. This can happen especially after heavy rainfall or with flooding.
Therefore, some of the places where people swim regularly are selected by the Local Authorities so that they can be carefully monitored to ensure the quality of bathing water is maintained in these popular places.
The Local Authorities work with the Environmental Protection Agency in the implementation of the Bathing Water Quality Regulations, 2008. Information on these monitored bathing sites can be found on the Beaches.ie website
The Health Service Executive assists in the protection of the health of the public in relation to bathing water by advocating a safe environment and by providing a timely response to incidents when they do occur. The HSE Bathing Water Group has developed Guidance for HSE staff in Departments of Public Health and in the Environmental Health Service to maximise our efficiency and effectiveness towards protecting health.
In addition, the Public Health Bathing Water Group publish Annual Reports on Bathing Water.
Water-based activities should be pleasurable and safe. The links below provide some advice to help ensure this: