The NSW Government has given a reprieve to Willoughby, Mosman, North Sydney and 11 coastal councils and will keep funding the long-running Beachwatch water testing programs for another 12 months.

The government had told councils it would cease funding the Beachwatch program, which tests the water quality of over a dozen coastal councils and posts weekly reports accessible to the community about whether coastal pools and beaches are suitable for swimming.

In response to councils’ concerns about how they would pay for the program, the government will fund Beachwatch until June 2025 to allow for further consultation on changes to the funding model.

NSW Minister for the Environment Penny Sharpe said: “Beachwatch is an important program for those who visit our beaches and waterways and for councils that work with Beachwatch to detect and respond to emerging pollution problems.”

The proposed changes were designed to make the system equitable and manage the growth of the Universal Beachwatch Partnership Program to more areas.