The annual summary report on the quality of bathing water provided by the WISE (The Water Information System for Europe), reveals that 92% of bathing waters in the European Union meets the minimum water quality standards set by the Bathing Water Directive, which must be implemented by December 2014.
Results show that 77.1 % of sites have excellent quality. Some 93.1 % of coastal bathing waters have been classified as ‘sufficient’, or complying with the less stringent mandatory values. Most emerging beach destinations as Cyprus, Croatia, Malta and Greece have excellent reports on their bathing water sites, all with more than 90 % of sites with excellent quality. Other more consolidated and traditional destinations as Spain, Italy and Portugal have more than 80 % of sites with excellent water quality.
The overall quality of bathing waters in the EU has markedly improved since 1990. The number of coastal bathing waters not complying with the Bathing Water Directive fell from 9.2 % of sites in 1990 to 1.5 % in 2011. The number of inland bathing areas not complying with mandatory values decreased from 11.9 % in 1990 to 2.4 % in 2011, which is among the lowest percentages to date.
Two thirds of bathing sites are in coastal waters and the rest in rivers and lakes, also showing that 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.
The study incorporates also analysis of Serpentine Lake in London, which will host several Olympics events, including the Open Water Marathon Swim and the swimming section of the triathlon.