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Water quality monitoring helps to protect Southland swimmers – Environment Southland

Southlanders can get ready to make a splash this summer with Environment Southland’s summer water monitoring getting underway.

The Council’s water quality monitoring programme will keep tabs on 22 of Murihiku Southland’s popular beaches, lakes and rivers to safeguard swimmers.

Environment Southland’s team leader aquatic ecosystems Ash Rabel says that means locals and holidaymakers can make informed decisions on where the best place is to head for a swim this summer, helping to keep their friends, whānau and four-legged companions safe.

“Our summer water quality monitoring checks for harmful microbes at 22 of Southland’s most popular swimming spots.”

“The results help swimmers make informed decisions before they pack their togs and towels and head off to dip their toes in the water.”

During the summer months, the presence of bacteria such as E.Coli and enterococci in swimming waters indicates a likely increased presence of other illness-causing microbes.

Anyone heading out for a swim is encouraged to check for the latest water quality updates, as well as considering each site’s long-term results, before getting in the water.

Water quality results are published on the ‘Can I Swim Here’ section of Land, Air, Water Aotearoa’s www.lawa.org.nz website.

“The LAWA ‘Where Can I Swim’ site is a helpful tool for finding out which rivers and beaches are OK to swim in over summer.”

“We encourage anyone thinking about heading out for a swim to take the time to check out their swimming spot’s water quality results first.”

Environment Southland’s second round of testing for this summer has revealed 21 of the programme’s monitored sites are considered safe for swimming.

One site is currently showing elevated microbial levels and while they are currently unsuitable for swimming, they will continue to be tested and those results will be published at www.lawa.org.nz

Environment Southland has two further tips for swimmers to keep in mind this summer.

Keep an eye on the weather and consider if there has been any recent rain.

Also consider if you can see your toes when you’re in the water at knee depth.

Both of these indicators suggest that infection risk from illness-causing microbes has increased because of recent rain.

Southlanders are also reminded to take a moment to check for potentially toxic algae in your swimming spot of choice.

Toxic algae can be seen all year around, so have a quick look at www.lawa.org.nz and www.es.govt.nz/toxic-algae for any warnings in our region and some handy information on what to watch out for. There are currently two warnings in place at Waihopai River at Kennington and Waiau River near the Excelsior Creek.

Taking a moment to check online and in the water can keep you and your friends and whānau safe, and it also helps protect your four-legged friends before they dive into the water to cool off.


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