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Water Quality Information - Is it safe to paddle in the River Dee?

The River Dee does not have designated bathing water status, but it is used by hundreds of people every day for recreation and the vast majority of people have no problems whatsoever.


Recreation in waterways always carries a potential risk of waterborne infection, which can be minimised by avoiding swallowing the water, by keeping good hand hygiene, and by keeping any cuts covered. Participation in water sports does necessitate an assumption of risk of such an infection, just as it assumes a risk of slips, trips and falls, and it is for participants to check they are happy with that risk in advance of participation.

Please feel free to check the interactive map created by the action group Surfers Against Sewage, which draws attention to areas where untreated water has been released in the last 48 hours.


If we become aware that water quality is very poor, we will always share this knowledge with participants so that they can make informed choices about how they interact with the water on their session. If their activity has a high chance of full water immersion, such as a whitewater session,  we can offer a rescheduling of this activity.  


Common illnesses and symptoms to look out for...

Most symptoms of illnesses caused by micro-organisms found in unclean water, such as norovirus, giardia and cryptosporidium, will generally be mild. However, there is also a risk of more severe infections caused by micro-organisms like E.coli and leptospirosis (Weil’s disease), which can cause liver and kidney problems. Common symptoms are sudden onset of fever, intense headache, sickness, diarrhoea, severe pains in calf and back muscles, red eyes and prostration. If you have any illness after water sports go straight to your GP and tell them about your participation and do not go swimming again until the symptoms are completely gone.

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