College of Agriculture, Engineering
and Science (CAES)

The new website currently provides data for six central Durban beaches.

New ‘poo predicter’ tells swimmers if water’s safe at Durban beaches

The new website Woz’Olwandle (Come to the sea) uses a computer model to crunch a wide range of data to estimate the likely concentrations of E. coli at several local beaches over 24 hours.

Much like a weather service report, the website will provide guidance on whether it is safe to swim, using easy-to-understand icons denoting whether water conditions are “good”, “acceptable” or “poor” (based on European Union recreation guidelines).

The main driving force behind the project is Dr Justin Pringle, a senior lecturer and researcher who co-heads the environmental fluid mechanics research group at the University of KwaZulu-Natal (UKZN).

Pringle says his main interest as a scientist is to ensure that information gets to people and he hopes the new website will also help to stimulate new conversations about and potential solutions to the problem of sewage flows that have dented the city’s tourism image.

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