Can I swim here?

Find out if it's safe to swim in your favourite spot over summer.

Every Tuesday, from 1 November to 31 March, we check water quality at 40 sites at rivers, lakes and the coast all over Taranaki.

Water sampling results take 3 days from the time of testing to publishing on our website.

If you plan to swim today, here are some signs to look out for before jumping into the water.
  • Has there been moderate to heavy rain in the last 48 hours? We advise you not to swim after heavy or prolonged rain when contaminates flush from urban and rural land into waterways.
  • Is the water murky, cloudy or brown? This type of water is unsuitable for swimming.
  • Is the water clear? Can you see the bottom and your feet in the water? If not – its best to stay out of the water.

The map shows retrospective results to inform the public of the latest water quality results at some of the region’s most popular swimming spots.

Where to swim

  Suitable for swimming. This site met the water quality guidelines for swimming and has a low health risk.

Caution advised.  Water quality is usually suitable for swimming, but young children, the elderly, or those with compromised health may be at increased risk

Unsuitable for swimming.  This site did not meet the water quality standards for swimming. This site has a high health risk.

 Data unavailable. The data is temporarily unavailable.

 Rāhui in placeA rāhui is a form of tapu, a cultural practice that restricts a range of activites swimming or collecting mahinga kai/food from the water. 

Rāhui in place

Urenui River

Ngāti Mutunga has placed a rāhui on the awa from Okoki Pā (Te Rangi Hiroa/Sir Peter Buck Memorial) to the river mouth. This prevents all water recreation (including swimming, shellfish gathering and fishing).

Mimitangiatua (Mimi River)

Ngāti Mutunga has placed a rāhui on the awa, including the Haehanga stream. This prevents all water recreation (including swimming, shellfish gathering and fishing).

What to look out for - signs of poor water quality

Heavy rainfall

Heavy rain flushes contaminants from urban and rural land into waterways.

Stormwater can contain human and animal waste, toxic materials, debris, agriculture and urban runoff. 

In town centres, rain is also the leading cause of sewage overflows. 

We advise you not to swim for 2 to 3 days after heavy or prolonged rain – even at sites that generally have good water quality. 

In the case of sewage overflows, there should be no shellfish gathering for at least 28 days.

Toxic algae - Microcoleus (Phormidium)

Potentially toxic algae are naturally occurring and live in a range of waterways.

During the summer months, when rainfall is low toxic algae can start to bloom and produce toxins.

These natural toxins, known as cyanotoxins, can be a threat to humans and animals when eaten, even licked, or when water containing the toxins is swallowed.

Potentially toxic algae differ from harmless bright green algae.

In rivers (and occasionally lakes), potentially toxic algae generally form brown or black mats that grow on rocks in the river bed. 

In lakes, potentially toxic algae blooms are generally green in colour and can give lakes a ‘pea soup’ appearance.

When exposed, the algae may dry out and turn a light brown or white colour and may also produce a strong musty odour.

Murky water

Murky water can make the water unsuitable and unsafe for swimming. 

If you can't see your feet in water that's knee-high deep - it's best to keep out of the water.

LAWA

Select a site in Taranaki to see the water quality and test history. To find the best places to swim throughout Aotearoa and helpful information on recreational monitoring in New Zealand - visit LAWA.org.nz.

Local partners

We work closely with local District Councils and the Taranaki District Health Board to keep you safe during the swimming season. Check out their websites for more information. 

Taranaki District Health Board(external link)

New Plymouth District Council(external link)

Stratford District Council(external link)

South Taranaki District Council(external link)

Bathing water quality

We monitor bacteria levels at popular coastal and freshwater swimming spots every summer, with data fed directly to the maps in this section of the website.
Read more...