Bathing water quality predictions

Live update information:

The 2024 bathing season starts on 1 June and we're getting prepared. Pre season samples will be taken at all our designated bathing waters from 15 May. Water Safety Scotland has activity safety information at

20/03/2024 10:44:04

Our electronic message signs at selected bathing waters across Scotland provide real-time predictions of bathing water quality during the bathing water season (1 June to 15 September).

Before heading to the beach, the coast, lochs, or out to sea, know the risks from water-based activities. Visit:

See our Q&A SEPA and safety at Scottish bathing waters.

These predictions are displayed below:

Bathing Water Site Water Quality Forecast Last Updated

What does the electronic message system do?

The electronic message signs allow us to inform the public of our forecast of predicted bathing water quality, either via the message ‘Water quality is forecast to be acceptable today’ or to advise of potentially poorer quality following a short-term pollution event. Although generally of a high quality, the bathing waters were selected because they were previously found to be at risk of not meeting European standards during or after wet weather.

The daily water quality forecasts are made using our extensive rainfall and hydrological information network to inform decisions. The sign status is then recorded via a computer control station which enables switching to the relevant version of text message.

Who is involved?

We have been responsible for the real-time electronic signage since 2005. The work was initially funded by the Scottish Government and piloted jointly in 2003–2004. We provide scientific advice, technical input and manage the daily operation of the sign network. A firm of consulting engineers has been sub-contracted to manage civil engineering and field work and to provide technical support. In addition, relevant local authorities and Clean Coast Scotland have also been consulted and provide advice.

Why has this been done?

Providing information on bathing water quality to the public is an important part of the new Bathing Water Directive. Our real-time bathing water quality prediction and electronic signage network is a leading example of how this can be achieved. The system puts Scotland at the forefront of this public information provision, helping keep bathers up-to-date by providing daily forecasts of predicted water quality at selected Scottish beaches.

All the main coastal sewage discharges in south west Scotland now have full biological treatment provided to protect the environment and bathing water quality. This treatment is fully in accordance with European standards (eg as prescribed by the EC Urban Waste Water Treatment Directive). Much work has also been done to reduce run-off from farms in the catchment areas into rivers and streams flowing to the sea near bathing waters. Despite these extensive improvements, the risk of short-lived pollution during or following substantial rainfall events remains. The purpose of the signage project is to warn the public when these conditions may exist.

The signs are not intended to be an alternative to environmental improvements or action to reduce pollution, but to provide additional public information. Efforts to reduce or eliminate potential sources of pollution are continuing and are reducing the frequency with which potential poor quality warnings have to be issued.

Contact us

If you have any questions or require any further information or advice on any aspect of bathing waters quality predictions, please contact us