As the half way point in the bathing water season arrives, Llyn Padarn, Wales’s first designated freshwater bathing lake is scoring top results and proving to have excellent water quality.
Samples collected every week since the start of the bathing season (15 May) show that water quality in the lake, near Llanberis, has consistently met the highest ‘excellent’ standard against new, stricter European guidelines.
At the end of the season (30 September), all the data collected from the lake will be compiled and will determine the official classification for the lake next season – ranging from ‘excellent’ ‘to ‘poor’.
This is the first year that the lake has been designated as a bathing water following a successful application by Gwynedd Council. The lake is popular with swimmers and watersports enthusiasts and a boating pontoon means more people have access to the lake.
It is also popular with anglers, and home to the rare, ice-age fish the Arctic charr.
But it hasn’t all been smooth sailing for the lake, or the charr, which have been in serious decline and the population has become threatened over the last 30 years.
Since an outbreak of blue-green algae in 2009, Natural Resources Wales has taken urgent action to improve water quality in the lake by tightening permits from nearby sewage treatment works and advising the water company on necessary upgrades.
Specialists from Natural Resources Wales have carried out extensive work to save the charr by stocking 8,000 young fish over the last four years to boost the population, with a further 1,700 to be released later this year.
Tim Jones, Operations Director for north and mid Wales, Natural Resources Wales said:
“This is fantastic news for the area, and a real sign of recovery since the algal bloom which had such a dramatic impact on the local economy.
“We’ve done a lot to improve water quality in the area, and along with investment made by Dŵr Cymru Welsh Water, we are working hard to make Llyn Padarn a better place for people and for wildlife.
“But we’re not going to let this good news make us complacent – there is still more to be done to secure the future of the lake, its important role in the local economy and its rare Arctic charr population.”