Health authorities are urging people to check the quality of
their favourite beach or swimming spot before diving in this
Auckland Council has assessed the quality of more than 180
beaches and freshwater sites in the region ahead of the
holiday season and found that only a few are unsafe to swim
They are Wairau Outlet, Cox's Bay, Meola Reef, Weymouth Beach
and Little Oneroa Lagoon.
However, heavy rain could lead to run-off into waterways and
people are encouraged to avoid them after large downpours.
An Auckland Council spokesman said people should also note
signs warning against swimming and avoid swimming in
high-risk areas such as stormwater outfalls and stream
Almost 70 Auckland sites will be checked over summer,
although the water quality at some beaches - including
Devonport, Omaha, Maraetai and Kendall Bay - is good enough
that monitoring isn't required.
In Waikato, the water quality at many monitored river sites
remains poor, including in the Waikato River at Horotiu
Bridge, Huntly Bridge, Mercer Bridge and Tuakau Bridge.
The quality at all coastal beaches in the region is
Most monitored sites in the Bay of Plenty are at present safe
to swim in, including all lakes except Lake Okaro.
Toi Te Ora Public Health Service medical officer of health Dr
Jim Miller said people needed to take a "reasonable approach"
when using the water.
Council websites offered a guide, but the results weren't
"It means you should exercise caution and see whether the
water is clear or smells."
Health effects from swallowing water tainted with faecal
micro-organisms or other bacteria can be unpleasant, and
include diarrhoea or vomiting, and infections of the eye,
ear, nose and throat. Children are particularly at risk of
ear and skin infections.
Dr Miller said swimmers who contracted stomach bugs generally
recovered after a few days of resting and drinking fluids,
"but if it doesn't clear up, or it's seeming to get worse,
it's certainly a good idea to seek medical advice".
However, he believed the biggest risks were safety related.
"Take advantage of the lifeguards, swim between the flags and
it's obviously not a good idea to go swimming after you've
been drinking," he said.
"If you're going boating, follow the safety codes and take a
Check the quality of your local swimming spot here
- By Jamie Morton of the New Zealand Herald