A new ‘Can I swim here?’ online tool launched today means Marlborough residents and visitors can enjoy our rivers and beaches with confidence this summer. The online tool shows the most up-to-date water quality information for local sites across our region and is freely available on LAWA.org.nz/swim.
With Marlburians now making the important decision of where to swim this Christmas, the launch is well timed. Marlborough District Council staff monitor 10 coastal beaches and seven river sites on a weekly basis over the summer season. This year, two new sites, Okiwi Bay and the Ohinemahuta River are included as part of the monitoring programme.
Marlborough District Council Environmental Scientist Steffi Henkel says the samples collected from beaches and rivers between November and March are sent to an independent lab for water quality testing. “It’s great to see that the information from these samples will now be available to the public,” Steffi says.
“We’re particularly interested in the E.coli and Enterococci result as these indicate a risk to human health. The results are shown on LAWA’s ‘Can I swim here?’ website with unsafe for swimming levels marked red and good levels marked green.”
“It’s important to note that water quality can change quickly, especially as a result of rainfall.”
The LAWA website contains valuable information for swimmers on other swim-smart things to look out for before taking a dip. This includes advice on checking if the water is clean and clear, avoiding swimming for two days after heavy rainfall, and looking out for other possible hazards.
“The website covers popular sites such as the Waihopai and Wairau Rivers, the Picton Foreshore, Whites Bay and many popular bays in the Marlborough Sounds, so I recommend people thinking of heading out for a swim take a look,” Steffi says.
LAWA is a partnership between councils, the Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and Massey University, and is supported by the Tindall Foundation.