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Jump online to check water quality before swimming


With summer on our doorstep and people gearing up to visit their favourite swim spots, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council is carrying out weekly water quality testing at 37 rivers, beaches, and estuaries, from Mahia to Pōrangahau.

Before people jump in, the Regional Council is encouraging them to jump online and check the water quality at their go-to swim spots and consider which areas are best for a summer dip.

Regional Council Team Leader Water Quality & Ecology Monitoring Jordan Ellmers says the monitoring team head out every Monday from November until mid-March 2024 to sample recreational water spots.

“Results from each Monday’s monitoring are available on Wednesday afternoons until mid-March 2024. They form a traffic light on the website – green means it’s good to go, orange advises caution, and red shows it’s not a suitable area to cool off. You can also find the typical water quality at your favourite site by sliding over to the long-term grade.”

“It’s easy to find - anyone with a smartphone can jump onto and search #swim. The results will automatically pop up, to help inform our community about the water quality for them and their whānau.”

“We contribute our data to New Zealand’s leading environmental data platform Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA). The LAWA website provides the traffic light platform to show our results and show the in-depth science behind these grades. They also give a great picture of national weather, water quality, facilities, and how to get to swim spots – so if you’re travelling outside the region, you can jump on and find the best place to swim.”

Mr Ellmers says given how much Hawke’s Bay’s landscape was disrupted during Cyclone Gabrielle, this may impact popular swimming areas this summer which makes it even more important to check before you head in.

“We are seeing the impact of the land disruption in our water samples, especially after large rain events. These contaminants can be flushed into the waterways from surrounding urban and rural environments. Over the next three months we expect to see spots that are typically suitable for swimming, like beaches, having a higher number of orange or red alerts advising caution.”

“As a rule of thumb, we also advise people to stay out of the water for two to three days following heavy or prolonged rain.”

When weekly testing stops in March, Hawke’s Bay Regional Council formulates a long-term grade that stays live on the LAWA website until the following spring/summer.

For more information on the weekly water quality results, visit and search #swim.

1 December 2023

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