A report from The New Zealand Herold into water quality for New Zealand’s monitored recreational sites on rivers, shows that 52% are unsafe for swimming.
The results showed water quality was poor or very poor at 52 per cent of monitored river sites. A further 28 per cent were graded “fair” – with a risk of illness for those swimming there and only 20 per cent of monitored river recreation sites were graded good or very good.
The report canvassed sampling from 210 freshwater beaches, including lakeside areas, and 248 coastal beaches used for recreation that had been assigned grades based on monitoring data acquired over five summers.
Coastal beaches and freshwater beaches at lakes were found to be much cleaner than river sites.
Eugenie Sage said the results fell far short of what Kiwis should expect. “It shows what a fake marketing image 100 per cent pure is, and we need to take action to make that image real,” she said. “We need strong rules and water quality standards to clean up our rivers and prevent fecal contamination from agricultural intensification.” Environment Minister Amy Adams said our water quality was good by international standards and most popular sites were fine for swimming. But she didn’t see that as good enough, saying: “My preference will always be for all our sites to be safe for swimming.” As the summer begins, Kiwis may have to travel some distance to enjoy safe water this summer.
In the UK we do not have this problem. Over the last 100 years nearly all or our river and lake swimming opportunities have been closed down. Even the picture for this article would raise suspicion as the risk averse British see jumping in as too dangerous.
Read how the British swimmer came to be hung out to dry.