SYDNEY, Australia – Right now it may not be trendy to swim in the Sydney Harbour but in 2020 city officials will try to make it as swimmable as possible, Environment Minister Gabrielle Upton said Monday.
The city has been battling an unseasonably cold ocean this summer, resulting in a reduction in the water quality in the bay from a previously level-5 water quality alert to a water quality rating of 6.
During days with levels of the harmful algal bloom Scenic State, “we experience high levels of respiratory irritants and disorientation in the water,” Upton said. As a result, officials estimate thousands of people have returned to shore with water-logged lungs in recent months.
“Until we can lift that to a level that’s consistent with a fully swimmable water quality outlook, we’re going to be continuing to issue alerts as well as restrictions,” Upton said.
Affected beaches are facing restrictions to private bathing in the water.
In 2014, a restriction came into effect on the short-term boat charters leaving the city’s harbour. Charters with a capacity of eight to 10 guests on Sydney Harbour could no longer operate.