Catchment News

Winter Swimmers: the Bathing Water Expert Group wants you to fill out this survey

| in News, Research, Stories

The Bathing Water Expert Group is inviting winter swimmers to take 15 minutes to fill in this questionnaire before 6 May 2022.  In the last two years, there has been an increased interest in winter swimming.  Given the increased interest in winter swimming, the national Bathing Water Expert Group would like to find out more information about where, when and why people are swimming during winter to help inform potential options for helping to protect winters swimmers’ health.

The Group would appreciate if you can also encourage your friends and family who enjoy winter swimming to complete the questionnaire.

Fill out the survey:

About the Bathing Season
In Ireland the official bathing water season runs from 1 June to 15 September. Local authorities monitor and manage a total of 148 designated bathing waters and 70 other waters are monitored during the season. As a result, there is an existing process that helps protects bathers’ health and there is a national approach to communicating bathing water quality to the public. This only applies during the bathing season, however.

The EPA produces an annual report on bathing water quality. The most recent report was for 2020 and  that can be found at–assessment/freshwater–marine/ The EPA also provides more up to date information on the website.

Winter swimming / Out of season swimming
‘Winter swimming’ or ‘Out of season swimming’ is any swimming that takes place from 16 September to 30 May.

Winter Swimming Checklist
This is a simple checklist for you to consider before swimming:
• Do a basic pollution risk check of the bathing spot before you go in.
• Don’t go in with an open cut or wound.
• Avoid getting water into your mouth, ears and eyes.
• Shower afterwards.
• Report signs of pollution.

About the Bathing Water Expert Group
The BWEG is made up of representatives from the major stakeholders concerned with bathing water management i.e.: the Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage; the Environmental Protection Agency; the Health Service Executive; the County and City Management Association; An Taisce; Coastwatch Ireland; Water Safety Ireland; and Irish Water. The key functions of the expert group include, but are not limited to, providing advice regarding the implementation of the Bathing Water Directive in Ireland and developing guidance for its implementation.

Who is involved?

Quite simply, everyone in Ireland has a role to play. This can be from something as simple as making sure you don’t pollute your local stream, or a local community working together to establish a Rivers Trust to enhance the rivers and lakes in their area, to a Government Department or Agency helping a Minister implement a new policy to help protect and enhance all our water bodies.

This website has been developed and is maintained by the Environmental Protection Agency, and is a collaboration between the Department of Housing, Planning and Local Government, the Environmental Protection Agency, and the Local Authority Waters Programme.


Local Authority Waters Programme

The Local Authority Waters Programme coordinates the efforts of local authorities and other public bodies in the implementation of the River Basin Management Plan, and supports local community and stakeholder involvement in managing our natural waters, for everyone’s benefit.


Environmental Protection Agency

The EPA is responsible for coordinating the monitoring, assessment and reporting on the status of our 4,842 water bodies, looking at trends and changes, determining which waterbodies are at risk and what could be causing this, and drafting environmental objectives for each.


Department of Housing, Local Government and Heritage

The Department is responsible for making sure that the right policies, regulations and resources are in place to implement the Water Framework Directive, and developing a River Basin Management Plan and Programme of Measures to protect and restore our waters.