Water Quality Report (2020)

Bathers continue to get sick and the state of river and ocean ecosystems declines even further.

Keeping water users safe from illness because of poor water quality in rivers and the ocean is core to Surfers Against Sewage’s DNA.

Polluted waters are what kickstarted the organisation into action 30 years ago and are an issue that worryingly continues to affect surfers, open water swimmers, bathers, stand-up paddleboarders and other water users to this day. Despite the progress we have made, with much to be celebrated, there is still vital work to do to protect and restore rivers and the ocean from the impact of sewage and agricultural and urban runoff.

Restoring blue spaces will also be central to the recovery of nature and biodiversity, and help insulate communities from the worst effects of the changing climate. Local environmental action often connects us to global issues, as has been demonstrated through the global pandemic.

This year, transparency in water quality information has become even more important with the onset of the COVID-19 pandemic and potential transmission risk for viruses in sewage. However, data from our Safer Seas Service (SSS) shows water companies are still discharging sewage at alarming rates, polluting the environment, and risking our health.

Read the report