Check it’s good to swim before you get in

The latest water quality results for more than 750 popular river, lake, and beach swim spots across New Zealand are available now.

The Land, Air, Water Aotearoa (LAWA) website makes recreational water quality monitoring results from all regions freely available through the ‘Can I swim here?’ tool. This means that wherever people are spending the holidays, they can get the information they need to help them decide the best place for a dip.

LAWA ‘Can I swim here?’ Science Lead and Hawkes Bay Regional Council Water Quality Scientist Anna Madarasz-Smith said, “Checking LAWA for water quality results and warnings before deciding where and when to swim can help keep you and your whānau well this summer.

“Over the swim season, the 16 Regional and Unitary Councils of Aotearoa regularly monitor swimming water quality at popular places and make the results available on LAWA.

“Most monitored swim spots are suitable for swimming most of the time. However, the golden rule is to always check it’s good to swim before you get in by visiting ‘Can I swim here?’ for the most up-to-date and historical water quality data,” said Ms Madarasz-Smith.

The LAWA ‘Can I swim here?’ online tool uses a traffic light system to signal if a swim spot is suitable for swimming (green), if caution is advised (orange), or if the site is unsuitable for swimming (red).

Ms Madarasz-Smith said water quality can change quickly so it’s also important that people follow the swim smart checklist. This means avoiding swimming for at least two days after heavy rain, always following any warning signs, checking the water is clean and clear, checking for hazards like potentially toxic algae or fast-moving water, and not swimming near any potential sources of contamination such as pipes, culverts, and flocks of birds.

“Swimming in rivers, lakes, and at beaches is never without risk, however it is a summer pastime in Aotearoa that comes with many benefits for overall wellbeing. At LAWA, we seek to help people better understand and reduce the risk from getting ill after swimming in the outdoors by providing good information in a timely way,” said Ms Madarasz-Smith.

In addition to water quality data and warnings, ‘Can I swim here?’ also has extra info that will help keep families safe and discover great swim spots, including local weather, tides, surf, water temperature, and site recreational activities and facilities.