In 2018, a comprehensive report highlighted a critical issue with the Beachwatch system – it had reached its limits in terms of scalability and efficiency.
Along with ensuring the site could expand over time to cover the entire NSW seaboard and inland swimming areas, the site needed a series of usability improvements including decluttering information, improving navigation, prioritising user-related display preferences, ensuring timely forecasting, improving data visualisation and exploring map interactivity.
Manual data entry and capture processes were also proving unsustainable, limiting the program's ongoing success. Improvements were needed to better capture externally provided data (e.g. from the Bureau of Meteorology) on daily rainfall, warnings, swimming site parameters, to lessen the risk of human error and reduce “double-handling”. There was a clear need to replace such manually intensive tasks with automatic, real-time date-stamped records.
To address these challenges, the NSW Government initiated a redevelopment project for the Beachwatch Website. The primary focus was on backend improvements, and efforts were made to modernise the user interface, particularly in the realm of spatial mapping.