WHO launches guidelines for recreational water quality

20 July 2021

Article: 55/2910

The World Health Organization (WHO) has launched an updated version of its guidelines for recreational water quality. The guidelines, which should be applied alongside COVID-19 prevention measures, outline health-based water quality targets and best practice for monitoring and surveillance, pollution control, and communication approaches, such as predictive models to let users know in real time if the water is safe to enter.

Broadly, the three recommendations are to: 

  • set national health-based targets for recreational water bodies, such as microbial levels from faecal contamination, and cyanotoxins from harmful algal blooms 
  • develop and implement recreational water safety plans (RWSPs) for priority bathing sites 
  • conduct ongoing surveillance and risk communication of recreational water-related illness, and give the public timely information about health risks

Source: WHO, 13 July 2021