An aerial survey of the upper Taieri River will be completed
this week, as the Otago Regional Council tries to pinpoint
the source of the water's high bacteria levels.
Signs warning of E. coli were placed at popular
swimming holes in the area several weeks ago, and the council
has been trying to find out why the bacteria continues to be
ORC director environmental monitoring and operations Jeff
Donaldson said staff had been tracking the river and its
tributaries through properties in the area.
They had also kayaked the river but were unable to identify a
While this week's aerial survey was conducted, staff would
track the effects of irrigation operating in the area, Mr
''We will also extend our weekly recreational sampling
programme on the upper Taieri by another two months from the
usual conclusion on March 31, to help us understand what is
happening in this catchment to cause this problem.''
Many factors could affect bacteria levels in waterways, he
Extensive property inspections had shown upper Taieri farmers
generally adopted good water quality practices, including
keeping stock out of waterways, he said.
''Upper Taieri E. coli levels monitored as part of our
weekly recreational sampling programme have fluctuated over
the summer, and samples have not all been at alert levels,
which has also made it difficult to pinpoint a single
Recent tests showed high bacteria levels, which would be
presented by the council at a public meeting in Patearoa, Mr