In the heat, many long for a jump into the nearest body of water. The EU Environment Agency has good news for water lovers.

Lakes, rivers and coastal waters: German bathing spots almost all have excellent water quality.

This emerges from the new bathing water report by the European Environment Agency EEA, which the EU authority published on Friday in Copenhagen. According to this, 90.4 percent of the water bodies analyzed in 2021 in Germany had excellent water conditions. Only 14 of the approximately 2,291 bathing areas were classified as poor because there were questionable bacteria in the water – in 2020 there were 11.

Among the waters rated as poor were the Sunthauser See in Bad Dürrheim (Baden-Württemberg), the Miersdorf outdoor pool in Zeuthen (Brandenburg), the Mainparksee in Mainaschaff in the Aschaffenburg district (Bavaria), the natural bathing beach at Glöwitzer Bucht in Barth (Mecklenburg). -West Pomerania), the North Sea beach of Wremen in the district of Cuxhaven (Lower Saxony) and the bathing area on the Elbe near Brokdorf (Schleswig-Holstein).

Germany still in the upper midfield

Overall, the EEA classified around 85 percent of European bathing areas as excellent in 2021. The EU minimum standards for water quality were complied with at almost 95 percent of the locations. In the previous year it was only around 83 or 93 percent. Across Europe, Germany’s lakes, rivers and coastal waters are still in the upper midfield. Austria took the top positions with around 98 percent of bathing spots with excellent water quality, followed by Malta, Greece and Croatia. The tail lights were Poland, Slovakia and Hungary.

Around 20,000 bathing spots in Europe analyzed

The Copenhagen-based EEA analyzed data on 21,859 bathing spots in Europe for the annual report. Waters in the 27 EU member states, Albania and Switzerland are included. For the evaluation, the authority looked at the contamination of the water with faecal bacteria, namely intestinal enterococci and Escherichia coli. These can lead to diseases in humans. As a result, the water quality depends on the detected amount of these bacteria, which mainly come from sewage and agriculture. The EEA recommends bathing bans, warnings or other measures for the bathing areas classified as poor.

This year’s results are proof that over 40 years of EU action to improve bathing water quality across Europe has benefited both our health and the environment, said EEA Executive Director Hans Bruyninckx. “The EU Zero Pollution Action Plan and the revision of the EU Bathing Water Directive will further solidify our commitment to preventing and reducing pollution in the coming decades.”

According to the data, the proportion of poor quality bathing water has decreased since 2013. In 2021, poor bathing water accounted for just 1.5 percent of all bathing water in the EU, compared to 2 percent in 2013. The report emphasized that an assessment of the sources of pollution and the corresponding implementation of integrated water management measures can also help to improve water quality.