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Bathing Waters

A new Bathing Water Directive (2006/7/EC) was adopted on the 15th February 2006 and will replace the existing directive by 2014. The new Directive lays down provisions for more sophisticated monitoring and classification of bathing water. Directive 2006/7/EC requires Member States to draw up a management plan for each site to minimise risks to bathers, based on an assessment of the sources of contamination that are likely to affect it. The annual Bathing Water Report and Tourist Atlas can be viewed here.

Information on a bathing site's quality classification, the results of water quality monitoring, the site's management plan and other relevant information is to be made readily available to the public, both through displays at the site and through the media and internet. The classification of water quality at a bathing site will be determined on the basis of a three year trend instead of a single year's result as at present. This means that the classification will be less susceptible to bad weather or one-off incidents. Where water quality is consistently good over a three-year period the frequency of sampling may be reduced. Gibraltar has six bathing areas, Camp Bay, Catalan Bay, Eastern Beach, Little Bay, Sandy Bay and Western Beach. These areas are all monitored by the Environmental Agency on a fortnightly basis during 15th April to 30th October each year. View the latest results, click here.

Potable Water Quality

The supply and quality of potable water in Gibraltar are controlled by the Public Health (Potable Water) Regulations 1994, the Public Health Potable Water) Rules 1994, Public Health Ordinance (Amendment) Act 2001 and Public Health (Potable Water) Rules 1994 (Amendment) Rules 2001. Water quality is checked under a two-tier sampling and analysis programme:

  • The water undertakers have their own 'in house' programme and additionally submit samples of each batch of water produced to the Public Analyst at the Public Health and Clinical Pathology Laboratories. The analysis results are then interpreted by the Environmental Agency and the batch under consideration is only released for general supply if found fit. - The Environmental Agency also carries out its own independent monitoring programme, sampling the water supplies as they reach the consumers. This programme is designed to meet the sampling criteria outlined in Directive 98/83/EC and our national legislation. View the latest Check Monitoring results here and the latest Audit Monitoring results here.

Water Framework Directive(2000/60/EC)

The overriding aim behind the Water Framework Directive is to ensure that all our water bodies, both coastal and groundwater, achieve or maintain 'Good Status' by 2015. The implications of this Directive are therefore far more comprehensive than any other piece of water legislation. With this aim in mind, Government appointed consultants to carry out an initial characterisation study and produce a report on their findings. This report provides a summary of Gibraltars water bodies and includes an analysis of the characteristics of the Gibraltar River Basin District along with a review of the impact of human activity on the status of surface waters and groundwater. Data collected during this reporting process has subsequently been used by the Water Framework Directive Working Group (WFDWG) to develop a monitoring network for Gibraltar. Consultants have also been contracted to facilitate the scheme. The WFDWG itself is made up of a panel of local professionals, scientists and Government officials. It was specifically established to provide ongoing technical and scientific advice to Government on the development and implementation of the Water Framework Directive.


Significant Water Management Issues

Gibraltar River Basin Management Plan

The Water Framework Directive requires River Basin District Management Plans to be drawn up in order to classify the existing state of coastal waters, ground waters and rivers. The Gibraltar Plan only covers coastal waters and ground waters as we have no rivers. The Directive also requires the identification of any potential sources of pollution that could be affecting water bodies in the plan. The Gibraltar Plan identifies our water bodies as the main harbour, our coastal waters and our aquifers. It describes the main issues affecting these water bodies and highlights key actions proposed to achieve high quality status where applicable. The annexes to the document give more detail on the water quality conditions in Gibraltar's coastal waters and ground waters, the actions proposed and the mechanisms that can be implemented to take these forward. The Water Framework Directive is not just about the environment: an economic analysis of water use is also an essential part of the process within the Gibraltar River Basin District Management Plan.

Beach Profiles