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Lake Waihola at Jetty

The Lakes Waipori and Waihola wetland complex is situated on the lower Taieri Plain, 30km south-west of Dunedin and 10km from the coast.

The wetland area covers 2000ha and is regarded as one of the largest and most significant remaining freshwater wetlands in New Zealand and supports a diverse and highly productive ecosystem. 

The lake is nutrient rich.

Lake Waihola covers an area of 62ha and receives water directly from the surrounding agricultural and indigenous forest catchment.  Channels on the eastern side of the lake are connected to the lower Waipori River.

Lake Waipori covers an area of 200 hectares, a number of catchments contribute water to Lakes Waipori and Waihola. The Waipori River (3980ha), the Meggat Burn (3600ha), the Main Drain (8000ha) and the Contour Channel (5500ha). Channels on the western side of the lake are connected to the lower Waipori River.

The Meggat Burn and Waipori River catchments are predominantly forestry plantation, with the latter having some sheep and beef farming in the lower reaches. The Lake Waihola catchment area is mostly sheep farming with small amounts of beef farming and some pine plantations. Areas covered by the West Taieri drainage schemes have significant amounts of dairying within their catchments.

The predominant landuse in the Main Drain catchment is dairying.  The Contour Channel catchment has intensive dairying along the foothills, between the Maungatuas and the Contour Channel drain.

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


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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?

    People are exposed to a very low risk of infection (less than 0.1%) from contact with the water.
    People are exposed to a low risk of infection (between 0.1 and 1%) from contact with the water.
    People are exposed to a moderate risk of infection(between 1 and 5%) from contact with the water.
    People are exposed to a high risk of infection (greater than 5%) from contact with the water.
    There are not enough data points (samples) at this site to generate an Overall Recreation Risk result.

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
  • Activity
    No information available