09 January 2018

Now that we are all drying out after the heavy rain last week and at the weekend, a cooling dip might seem attractive.  However, caution is required as there are potential health risks associated with contaminated recreational water.

“If you swim in or drink contaminated water, you risk getting sick,” says Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health. Illnesses you can catch include a tummy bug, a sore throat or skin infection.  After heavy rain water is likely to be contaminated with animal faeces from rural and urban run-off.  As a precaution people should avoid swimming in rivers, streams and harbour areas for 48 hours after heavy rainfall events.

What action to take:

  • Avoid swimming for at least 48 hours (two days) after heavy or prolonged rain.
  • At any time if you notice the water in your local lake, river, harbour, estuary or beach is murky or has a musty smell, go somewhere else.

Our regional and district/city councils keep a close eye on the quality of our bathing spots. They test the water regularly. Regional Council water sampling results are available online at www.boprc.govt.nz/swimmingwaterquality and www.lawa.org.nz/swim.

If a monitored recreational water site is found to be significantly contaminated, with risk to public health, Toi Te Ora Public Health informs the public by issuing a health warning and the local council erects warning signs.

Up-to-date information on health warnings for the Bay of Plenty and Lakes districts is available through these channels: