I’m writing in response to Gavin Roache’s letter published in The Tribune on January 20 regarding the safety of waterways for swimming.
Ensuring waterways in the Manawatu¯ Catchment are safe, accessible, swimmable and provide good recreation and food sources is one the goals of the Manawatu¯ River Leaders’ Accord and a high priority for our Horizons team who monitor water quality at popular swimming sites throughout the summer months.
Swim spot sampling is carried out weekly at a number of freshwater and coastal sites throughout the region between November and April and the results are made available via our website using a green, amber, red system for E.coli and blue-green algae.
Recently, new signage has been installed at a number of popular swimming areas and the Land Air Water Aotearoa website is another great source of long-term grading information for sites across New Zealand.
Our general advice to swimmers is that if it’s a sunny day and the water looks clean and clear you should be good to go.
It’s best to wait three days for the water to clear after heavy rainfall before swimming at a river site and if you observe musty-smelling, black, mat-like growths on river stones during low river flows it is safest for you and your dog to avoid using the river at that time. Michael McCartney
Chief executive Horizons Regional Council