New online guide to safe swimming

By Online News - Rereātea

A new feature called Can I Swim Here? on the environmental monitoring website Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) will allow New Zealanders to check the quality of the water at coastal and freshwater swimming sites.

People are being encouraged to check the information on the website before they hit their favourite swimming spots this summer.

Information on water quality from over 500 rivers, lakes and coastal beach sites all over New Zealand is now available and accessible on the website.

The feature provides a guide to water quality based on the results of bacterial monitoring done by regional and unitary councils during summer at popular swimming spots. For lakes and freshwater sites, E. coli bacteria levels are determined, and for coastal sites, the levels of enterococci bacteria are measured. 

Chair of Local Government New Zealand's Regional Sector Doug Leeder says New Zealanders love swimming and getting out on the water and this new tool will provide up-to-date information on their favourite swimming spots.

“New Zealanders flock to our lakes, rivers and beaches, especially over summer.

It’s important that we enjoy our waterways knowing they are suitable for recreational use.  Many of us will be heading away on holiday soon so this is the ideal time for a valuable resource like this to become available,” Leeder says.

LAWA Chairman and Chair of the Otago Regional Council Stephen Woodhead says the latest weekly results show that most monitored coastal and freshwater sites throughout New Zealand are acceptable to swim at.    

Mr Woodhead says people still need to think twice before swimming after heavy rain.  

“Even a low-risk swimming spot can be unsuitable to swim at from time-to-time and we recommend that people avoid swimming for 48 hours after heavy rainfall.” 

For more information, you can check out the new feature here