River is ‘gen­er­ally safe’ for a dip

South Waikato News - - NEWS -

The Waikato River is ‘‘gen­er­ally safe‘‘ to swim in through­out the South Waikato ac­cord­ing to an En­vi­ron­ment Waikato sci­en­tist.

The re­mark came af­ter com­ments from a Hamil­ton-based lobby group that the river was un­safe be­cause of the ef­fect of dairy op­er­a­tions on wa­ter qual­ity.

EW wa­ter sci­en­tist Bill Vant said the Waikato River was gen­er­ally safe for swim­ming from Lake Taupo right down to Ngaru­awahia. Af­ter that sed­i­ment and bac­te­ria from the Waipa River could po­ten­tially cause prob­lems for swim­mers.

EW chair­man Peter Buck­ley said ‘‘be­fore Ngaru­awahia, the river is gen­er­ally safe for swim­ming.

‘‘Wa­ter qual­ity in the river be­tween Taupo and Kara­piro is in par­tic­u­lar gen­er­ally suit­able for swim­ming as bac­te­ria is killed off when wa­ter is ex­posed to sun­light for ex­tended pe­ri­ods in the hy­dro dams.’’

How­ever, Mr Buck­ley agreed wa­ter qual­ity is­sues gen­er­ally in the re­gion were of con­cern and EW was work­ing with iwi, the newly formed Waikato River Author­ity and other stake­hold­ers to ad­dress those is­sues.

‘‘While we look at how best to deal with the prob­lems we face, it is im­por­tant to stick to the facts of the sit­u­a­tion.’’

EW warns river users that parts of the Waikato are not safe be­cause of strong cur­rents or prox­im­ity to hy­dro-elec­tric­ity op­er­a­tions.

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