Water reports release on river conditions and swimming suitability

Issue 52 – August 2013

The Ministry for the Environment recently released two indicator reports on river conditions and swimming suitability.

  • The River condition indicator is based on data that was collected across more than 300 regional council and NIWA-monitored sites from 2000 – 2010, out of the tens of thousands of waterways across New Zealand. The report shows that overall concentrations of nutrients and bacteria are either stable or improving at most monitored sites, and that water quality is generally improving.
  • The Suitability for swimming indicator provides a summary of monitored swimming sites. It reflects a precautionary approach to managing public health risks, which means that even a very small risk will be flagged through a lower grading. The report shows that many swimming spots are affected in wet weather from stormwater runoff. At some sites, heavy rain and wind can churn up sediment from the bottom of the waterway, releasing pathogens back into the water. Other common sources of water pollution are urban stormwater systems, livestock, fertilisers, and dense populations of wildlife.

→ View the River condition indicator

→ View the Suitability for swimming indicator

Summarised from a New Zealand Government media release, 29 July 2013.

Published in environment.