For the sixth straight summer, Heal the Bay is posting daily water quality predictions for California Beaches on our Beach Report Card with NowCast.
A day at the beach should not make anyone sick. That’s why health officials across the state sample water at the beach weekly during the summer. And when officials detect high levels of bacteria, they issue a public health advisory.
The good news: by measuring the amount of bacteria in the water and sharing information with the public in real time, we can help you decide when and where it’s safest to go to the beach. Plus, it raises awareness about ocean pollution and brings much-needed attention to solving systemic waste and runoff issues.
The bad news: weekly samples aren’t enough. Water quality can fluctuate drastically from day to day, with real implications for people’s health. Heal the Bay believes that we need daily samples in order to better protect public health. In 2015, we launched our NowCast program within the Beach Report Card. NowCast supplements the weekly grades provided by public health officials by bringing accurate daily predictions to the public.
NowCast is able to predict concentrations of bacteria in the water on a daily basis, filling in the time gap of weekly bacteria sampling. NowCast consists of computer models that examine correlations between environmental conditions (such as temperature and tide) and historical bacteria concentrations. Our models then predict how much bacteria could be present in the water given the current local conditions at the beach.
NowCast predictions appear on the Beach Report Card with the symbols seen below. A Blue “W+” symbol indicates that there is a low risk of illness by coming in contact with the water, and a Red “W-” symbol indicates that there is a high risk of illness by coming in contact with the water.
Good Water Quality
Poor Water Quality
List of Beaches With Daily NowCast Water Quality Predictions
- Ocean Beach (Balboa St.), San Francisco
- Ocean Beach (Lincoln Way), San Francisco
- Candlestick Point (Windsurfer Circle), San Francisco – NEW
- Main Beach (Boardwalk), Santa Cruz County
- Leo Carrillo, Los Angeles County – NEW
- Will Rogers (Temescal Canyon), Los Angeles County
- Will Rogers (Santa Monica Canyon), Los Angeles County
- Santa Monica (Pico Ave.), Los Angeles County – NEW
- Venice Beach Pier, Los Angeles County
- Dockweiler/Toes Beach, Los Angeles County
- El Porto, Los Angeles County – NEW
- Manhattan Beach (28th St.), Los Angeles County
- Hermosa Beach Pier, Los Angeles County – NEW
- Redondo Breakwater, Los Angeles County
- Redondo Beach Pier, Los Angeles County
- Torrance Beach (Avenue I), Los Angeles County – NEW
- Long Beach (72nd Place), Los Angeles County
- Seal Beach (1st), Orange County – NEW
- Seal Beach Pier, Orange County
- Huntington Beach (Brookhurst St.), Orange County
- Newport Beach (52nd), Orange County – NEW
- Newport Beach (38th), Orange County
- Aliso Creek Outlet, Orange County – NEW
- Monarch Beach (Salt Creek Outlet), Orange County – NEW
- Doheny State Beach, Orange County
- San Clemente Pier (Lifeguard Tower), Orange County
Don’t see your beach on the map? We’re working on it! Predicting water quality is complex and we want to make sure we get it right. This means we need access to a myriad of data sources in order to make accurate predictions, and when data are not readily available, we can’t make the prediction.
If you’re looking to help monitor and improve the water quality at your favorite beach spots, here’s a few things you can do:
- Advocate at town halls and city council meetings for increased funding toward ocean and environmental data observation, collection, standardization, and analysis programs.
- Support Heal the Bay’s staff scientists efforts to expand monitoring programs and directly fund our work.
- Stay informed about your local water quality and reach out to your representatives in California demanding improvements be made to protect public health and our natural environment.
If you can’t find daily NowCast predictions in your area, you can still see the latest water quality grades issued to over 500 beaches on the Beach Report Card Website. In the meantime, we are working to improve and expand the NowCast system so check back frequently to see if your favorite beach has water quality predictions.