What is the Recreational Swimming Water Quality Programme?
The Northland Regional Council, in conjunction with District Councils and the Northland Health Board, sample a number of Northland’s popular swimming spots each summer to check that the water is suitable for swimming.
When did monitoring start this year?
The recreational bathing programme for 2012-2013 started on 26 November 2012. This programme included weekly sampling at 48 coastal sites tested weekly for 12 weeks from 26 November 2012 to 18 February 2013. Twenty three coastal sites were tested weekly from 18 February 2013 until 25 March 2013.
Twelve freshwater sites were tested weekly for 12 weeks from 26 November 2012 to 18 February 2013. Three freshwater sites were tested weekly from 18 February 2013 until 25 March 2013. The end of season results are now available on our website.
General swimming water quality in Northland
In general, water quality is suitable for swimming at most of our open coastal beaches because of dilution and tidal flushing. However, bacterial levels can be elevated at coastal sites located close to river mouths, or spots in many of Northland’s rivers and lakes, particularly after heavy rain, due to runoff of contaminants from surrounding land. Some sites in Northland show consistently high contamination levels, such as Otiria Stream near Moerewa and Wairoa Stream in Ahipara, meaning they are not suitable for swimming at any time.
View end of season 2012-2013 water quality results for coastal sites.
View end of season 2012-2013 water quality results for freshwater sites.
Water can be contaminated and unsuitable for recreational use if:
• There is a warning sign erected indicating water is unsuitable for swimming;
• There has been recent heavy rain;
• The water looks dirty (murky);
• There are potential sources of contamination nearby or upstream, such as houses on septic tanks, stock with access to the water or a sewage treatment plant.