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Recreational water

Safe swimming over the summer months

The Greater Wellington Regional Council along with local councils monitor the water quality in and around popular sites, to see that they are safe from bugs.

To see what the water is like at these areas go to the Greater Wellington Regional Council ‘Summer Check’ webpage www.gw.govt.nz/summer-check: a one stop shop for latest water quality and toxic algae information as well as
weather, burn times and other summer time swimming safety information.

Also remember that eating shellfish collected near towns or cities will always carry a risk of making you sick. The risk is much higher for several days after wet weather. So avoid collecting shellfish until the water runs clear for several days. Well cooked shellfish are safer, as cooking kills most bugs.

If you notice a problem with water quality, report it to the Regional Council on 0800 496 734. This will help support all of the work that is happening to improve the water quality in the Wellington region.

Microbiological risks

Swimming or collecting food from polluted water can make you unwell. Our health protection staff, along with other agencies, monitor, manage and advise on the public health risks associated with recreational water quality. This includes water quality at popular coastal, river and lake recreation sites in the region. The environmental monitoring of microbiological risks and fresh water algae is done by Greater Wellington Regional Council and we assess the the public health risks.

Sewage discharge

In built up areas there is a possibility of unplanned sewage discharge contaminating waterways and this creates a public health risk. Should this occur, the local authority will advise the public that there has been an unplanned sewer overflow event and then they will remedy the affected area.

Swimming and spa pools

Recreational water quality also covers bathing in public swimming and spa pools. To ensure swimmers are not exposed to infection, pool water needs to be managed carefully. If you have a concern or enquiry regarding the hygiene of a local swimming or spa pool, contact your local authority.

Find resources on safe swimming and household swimming pools below.

Cryptosporidium

Cryptosporidiosis is caused by Cryptosporidium parvum which lives in the intestines of people, birds and animals. It produces cysts (eggs) that can survive in the environment for a long time. When a person, bird or animal is infected they pass out the cysts (eggs) in their faeces (poo).

Cryptosporidium is most often spread by hands contaminated with faeces during toilet use or nappy changing. From hands it can spread to surfaces, toys, food and water. It also spreads in shared water such as swimming pools. When the cysts are swallowed the person then becomes infected.

Symptoms include large amounts of watery diarrhoea and stomach cramps. Lack of appetite, weight loss, fever, nausea and vomiting sometimes occur. People with weak immune systems, particularly those with HIV, can have severe and life threatening illness

Further information

To find out about the quality of our regions recreational water visit the Greater Wellington Regional Council website.