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Water and marine environment

Securing the sustainable use of water remains a key challenge

Clean water is an essential resource for human health, agriculture, energy production, transport and nature. But it is also under multiple pressures. Currently, only 40% of Europe’s surface water bodies achieve good ecological status. In addition, even though EU countries have managed to reduce selected pressures, the status of our marine ecosystems remains critical, both in terms of species and habitats. More efforts are needed to achieve Europe's freshwater and marine-related environmental targets.

State of bathing waters in 2021

We all want to know the quality of 'our' local bathing area, beach or lake, and whether it conforms to EU standards. Below you will find a map viewer that will allow you to view on-line the quality of the bathing water in the almost 22 000 coastal beaches and freshwater bathing waters across Europe.

Data sources:

The annual Bathing Water report, published today, shows that in 2021 almost 85% of Europe's bathing water sites met the European Union's most stringent ‘excellent' water quality standards. The assessment gives a good indication of where swimmers can find the best quality bathing sites across Europe this summer. The assessment, put together by the European Environment Agency (EEA) in cooperation with the European Commission, is based on the monitoring of 21 859 bathing sites across Europe. These cover the EU Member States, Albania and Switzerland throughout 2021.

Most of Europe’s drinking water and a significant proportion of water used in irrigation come from groundwater. A European Environment Agency (EEA) briefing, published today on World Water Day, provides a European overview of this key resource that is under increasing pressure from pollution, abstraction and climate change.

Pesticides can end up in rivers, lakes and groundwaters, with potential to harm aquatic ecosystems and water quality. The European Environment Agency’s (EEA) new indicator, which aims to track Europe’s progress in reducing pesticides in waters, shows that excessive levels of pesticides have been recorded in a considerable share of European freshwaters.

Published: 03 Jun 2022

Bathing is an extremely popular and important leisure activity in Europe. This annual assessment of European bathing sites shows how well environmental protection measures are implemented, allowing people to make informed decisions on where to bathe without health risks at 21 551 officially identified bathing sites in the EU as well as 119 in Albania and 189 in Switzerland.

Published: 24 May 2022

The long-standing cooperation between the European Environment Agency (EEA) and the United Nations Environment Programme / Mediterranean Action Plan (UNEP/MAP) has delivered successive harvests of knowledge products, such as the EEA-UNEP/MAP report titled Towards a cleaner Mediterranean: a decade of progress — Monitoring Horizon 2020 regional initiative, and several joint activities driving forward the collective endeavour for a healthy Mediterranean Sea and coast in the context of sustainable development.

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