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River baths worldwide

Flussbad Berlin is of course not the only river bath worldwide. And it is not even the first in the world. There are many pioneers and at least as many contemporary companions.

The tradition of river bathing is a very old one, especially in Switzerland. Whether in the Rhine, Limmat or Aare, the water quality is usually so good that you can just jump into these rivers. Over the past two decades, many cities around the world have bethought of their bodies of water, which are being increasingly reconquered by the citizens.

You will find a small collection of urban river baths around the world here which will grow bit by bit. These reference projects are located on rivers, streams, former rivers and sea harbours and have been upgraded with more or less infrastructure.

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Sydney - Parramatta River

Sydney - Parramatta River

Three new swimming spots are planned for the Parramatta River in Sydney as part of a masterplan to boost the river's health and protect it from surging residential developments in the city.

Swimmers will be able to take a dip at three more spots along the Parramatta River under a plan to boost the waterway's health and protect it from surging residential development in Sydney's west. But bathers face a wait of more than six years before they can swim at riverside areas marked for upgrades at Bayview Park in Concord, McIlwaine Park at Rhodes East and Putney Park.

The ambition to open the proposed sites by 2025 was outlined in the Parramatta River Masterplan. The locations would join existing swimming spots along the river at Cabarita Park beach, Chiswick Baths, Dawn Fraser Baths in Balmain and Lake Parramatta.

"It's a plan to have the water quality in the Parramatta River so good, you can swim in it," Parramatta River Catchment Group chairman, Mark Drury, said. Nine other sites will be considered as future swimming spots. The report said there was particularly strong interest in opening Callan Park in Rozelle. The idea to revitalise the spots has been inspired by overseas projects to utilise city rivers, including the Copenhagen Harbour Baths and the Badeschiff floating public pool on Berlin's Spree River.

Floating swimming pools have also been proposed to reinvigorate parts of the Thames River in London and New York's Hudson River. Parramatta River's catchment area is home to about 750,000 people and is covered by 11 local councils, all of which have backed the masterplan along with the New South Wales government. High-density housing across the catchment was predicted to jump by 64 per cent in the next six years, alongside a 58 per cent rise in medium-density housing, the report said. The plan also aims to boost water quality monitoring and curb stormwater run-off.

More than 20 swimming baths popped up along the river around the early 1900s, however, most closed in the 1960s as run-off, sewage and surging industrial development decreased water quality. The area's more recent residential development boom led to an improvement in the river's health and sparked interest in making the river swimmable again, the report said.

More information on the Parramatta River and it's current swimming spots can be found here.