River is ‘generally safe’ for a dip
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.