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Whanganui at Cobham Pontoons

This popular recreational area is found along the eastern side of Whanganui upstream of the Town Bridge. It is used more for boating and fishing than swimming. You will see jet skis, power boats, rowing skiffs, kayaks and sailing boats out on the river. There are numerous access points to the river along the walkway including the pontoon and jetty out from Moutoa Quay. The walkway is a popular fishing spot for young and old alike.

Is it safe for swimming?
Water quality at Cobham Pontoons is graded fair for swimming. This means it is generally safe for swimming, except during and after recent rainfall and river freshes.

Rain washes bacteria and sediment off streets, roads, plants and land into water which increase health-risk and makes it look murky. Although boating should remain safe, it is best to wait for three or four days of fine weather before swimming.

What is Horizons doing to improve the River?
Rivers have a range of things that need to be balanced to keep the water clean so its fish and plant life can survive and we can enjoy these special spots.

Horizons works to improve water quality by:
• Helping to fence off rivers and streams so stock do not get into water and contaminate it
• Helping rural land users to stop soil eroding from hills and into water
• Ensuring waste that has to go into water is properly treated to meet water quality standards
• Monitoring water that is taken out of the river so there is enough for everyone, including the fish

Our River's future
While you can enjoy the Whanganui River this summer, work needs to be done to make sure future generations will be able to swim in it too. Horizons will do this by continuing to support work that reduces the sources of sediment and bacteria getting into the river. The Whanganui Catchment Strategy is a good example of this.

Recreational water quality

Summer Monitoring:

Many councils monitor popular recreational sites weekly over the summer months. This lets swimmers know what the most recent bacteria (E. coli) levels were. Remember, even for sites where the monitoring has shown an acceptable to swim test result, some conditions can make them unsuitable to swim in from time to time and we recommend that you avoid swimming after heavy rainfall for 48 hours.

Overall Recreation Risk:

The Overall Recreation Risk is a guide to give a general picture of water quality at a site over the recreational bathing season. Updated annually, it is calculated from bacteria (E. coli) data collected over the last three years during the summer monitoring months. The Overall Recreation Risk indicator is a precautionary approach to managing health risk and is not designed to represent health risk on a particular day. As such, a site can have an Overall Recreation Risk of ‘Caution’ but still be suitable for swimming some of the time.

See the factsheet on coastal and freshwater recreation monitoring for more information.

  • Summer season monitoring

    A recent snapshot based on a single sample

    NO DATA

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    Summer season monitoring history

    • Last 4 Samples
    • All samples this season
    E. coli sampling graph
    E. coli sampling table
    Sample Date Status Result Observations

    What do the icons mean?

    Acceptable – continue routine monitoring
    Acceptable – Alert. Increase monitoring and investigate source
    Unacceptable – Action. Immediate re-sample, public warning issued if required, increased monitoring and investigate source
  • Overall recreation risk

    The long term risk status based on three years of data

    {{rating() | uppercase}}

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    Overall recreation risk information

    Human health for primary recreation: overall recreation risk
    Minimum data points required 30 Number of data points available {{dataPoints() | number:0}}
    Lowest E. coli per 100ml value {{minValue() | number:0}} Highest E. coli per 100ml value {{maxValue() | number:0}}
    Hazen percentile result {{hazenResult() | number:0}} Overall recreation risk {{rating()}}

    What do the icons mean?

    VERY LOW RISK
    People are exposed to a very low risk of infection (less than 0.1%) from contact with the water.
    LOW RISK
    People are exposed to a low risk of infection (between 0.1 and 1%) from contact with the water.
    MODERATE RISK
    People are exposed to a moderate risk of infection(between 1 and 5%) from contact with the water.
    CAUTION
    People are exposed to a high risk of infection (greater than 5%) from contact with the water.
    NO DATA
    There are not enough data points (samples) at this site to generate an Overall Recreation Risk result.

Overall Recreation Risk: Very Low Risk
When a site is classed as very low risk, the risk of illness from exposure to E. coli is less than 0.1%.

View a factsheet on all recreational water quality monitoring

Overall Recreation Risk: Low Risk
When a site is classed as low risk, the risk of illness  from exposure to  E. coli is between 0.1 and 1%. 

View a factsheet on all recreational water quality monitoring

Overall Recreation Risk: Moderate Risk
When a site is classed as moderate risk, the risk of illness  from exposure to  E. coli is between 1 and 5%.

View a factsheet on all recreational water quality monitoring

Overall Recreation Risk: Caution
When a site is classed as Caution, the risk of illness from exposure to E. coli is greater than 5%.

View a factsheet on all recreational water quality monitoring

A minimum of 30 samples are required to calculate an overall recreation risk. For more information on this site view the Summer Season Monitoring

This data is collected by trained council staff and analysed by accredited laboratories. Regional Councils are currently reviewing the methodology of how to best calculate recreational water quality. Once new guidelines are established, they will be applied to this data and the appropriate Cawthron Tick will be given.

Recreational activities
Site suitable for these activities
  • Suitable for swimming

Rivers and Lakes are great natural  playgrounds but they can be unpredictable. Be aware of the other potential risks before jumping in.