Map pins are available via the tab key in a list after the map.

You can pan the map with the keyboard arrows.

Map pins are available via the tab key in a list after the map.

You can pan the map with the keyboard arrows.

Explore water quality across the Yarra

EPA forecasts water quality for 4 sites along the Yarra River in partnership with Melbourne Water.

EPA also issues alerts when there is an issue affecting a waterbody in Victoria.

Yarra Watch season is now open. Always check for signs of pollution before you swim.


Avoid swimming near stormwater or river outlets 24-48 hours after heavy rain.

Water quality forecast key

  • Good

    Suitable for swimming

  • Fair

    May not be suitable for swimming

  • Poor

    Not suitable for swimming

  • Illegal

    City bylaws prevent swimming

  • Not available

    Forecast data unavailable

View data in table format

Healthy swimming advice

For healthy swimming:

  • Avoid swimming near stormwater drains 
  • Avoid swimming for 48 hours after rain
  • Try not to swallow water during recreation 
  • Cover cuts and scratches with waterproof bandages
  • Wash your skin with soap after touching the water and shower after swimming

Recreational water use

There are two kinds of recreational water activity:

  • Primary contact recreation, where you are in direct contact with the water, can be fully immersed and could swallow water. This includes swimming, surfing, water skiing, and diving.
  • Secondary contact recreation, where you have direct contact with the water but are unlikely to swallow it. This includes paddling, wading, boating and fishing.

EPA water quality forecasts of Good, Fair and Poor are for primary contact recreation. Secondary contact with the water poses a reduced risk of illness as you are less likely to ingest the water. EPA long term water quality monitoring shows our microbial indicators only very rarely exceed secondary contact criteria.


Good means water quality is probably suitable for swimming.

Fair means water quality may not be suitable for swimming. Check for signs of pollution before you swim. For example; stormwater drains flowing, murky water, bad smell, and rubbish.

Poor means water quality is probably not suitable for swimming.

Children, older people and people with a weakened immune system are most at risk of getting sick from polluted water.

View sampling results

You can view recent sampling results for Yarra Watch sites at DataVic.

How we calculate forecasts

Melbourne Water test water samples for a bacteria found in faeces called E. coli.

E. coli is the best indicator for measuring pollution from faecal contamination in our rivers.

In poor water quality,  bacteria  may lead to illness. A common illness from swimming in poor quality water is gastroenteritis. You should see your doctor if you suspect you are unwell from swimming.

Recreational water quality standards

We assess water quality against the Environment Reference Standard which came into effect in 2021.

These standards are more stringent than standards we used previously. This ensures that Yarra Watch is more protective of health. This means swimmers can have an even higher degree of confidence in our forecasts and swim advisories.

The stricter standards will likely result in EPA advising that the water may not be safe for swimming more often. A higher number of ‘Poor’ forecasts and swim advisories does not necessarily mean that water quality is worse than in previous years.

Find out more about water quality standards.

Reviewed 21 January 2021