skip to main content

Swimming in our Rivers & Ocean Te kaukau ki ō tātau awa me te moana

Data and guidelines for swimming water quality at coastal and river sites around Hawke's Bay (Nov - Mar). Colour coding indicates suitability for swimming.

We monitor recreational water spots over the Summer to check on their suitability for swimming. Every week over summer (1 November - 31 March) we check over 30 popular swimming and recreation spots - coastal beaches, rivers and Lake Tutira. We post the data and guidelines here so that you can stay healthy in the water.

We use colour coded symbols to indicate suitability (see the legend on the map), with the red symbol indicating that it is not suitable for swimming.

Tūtira Lake​

We have classified this lake as generally unsuitable for recreational activities.  There may be times when the health risk is low, however we are unable to advise when these occur.

Summer Event Exclusion Zones

During summer many of our popular swimming and boating areas are used for sports and competitive events and exclusion zones are in place for these events to be run safely.

Weekly results

Each Monday during summer we sample water at these sites and a lab test tells us how much bacteria is present. As there's a delay in getting results to you through the Public Health Unit, the Rule of Toe (below) is a handy guide.

Long term results

This gives you a more general guide using the ‘Suitability for Recreational Grade’ which is based on 5 years of data and a catchment risk assessment. The most recent annual report on the 2013/14 summer results is at the bottom of this page.

Another reliable source of information is the joint regional council LAWA (Land Air Water Aotearoa) website: which enables you to compare water quality across the country as well as the region.

Rule of Toes!​

If it's been raining heavily, our best advice is to stay out of the water for 3 days. A handy guide is if you can't see your toes when standing knee-deep in water, then water quality is not the best for a swim.

Clive River, Waipuka Stream and Puhokio Stream are generally less suitable for swimming or recreational use, due to higher potential bacteria levels. The Clive River and Puhokio stream are sampled fortnightly as they have permanent signs up warning of the health risks. the Regional Council, community groups and landowners are working to improve water quality in these places.​​

Signs to look out for

These are the signs to look out for when the water quality is not safe for swimming, or not safe to collect food from the sea.


Environmental Telarc


Hawke's Bay Regional Council - Copyright © 2019 Hawke's Bay Regional Council

Disclaimers and Copyright
While every endeavour has been taken by the Hawke's Bay Regional Council to ensure that the information on this website is accurate and up to date, Hawke's Bay Regional Council shall not be liable for any loss suffered through the use, directly or indirectly, of information on this website. Information contained has been assembled in good faith. Some of the information available in this site is from the New Zealand Public domain and supplied by relevant government agencies. Hawke's Bay Regional Council cannot accept any liability for its accuracy or content. Portions of the information and material on this site, including data, pages, documents, online graphics and images are protected by copyright, unless specifically notified to the contrary. Externally sourced information or material is copyright to the respective provider.

© Hawke's Bay Regional Council - / +64 6 835 9200 /