Manawatu River at Palmerston North

The Manawatu Riverside Pathway provides a number of access points to the river along the eastern side of Palmerston North.  The great access means that the river is used at many spots by people and their dogs for swimming.  But is it safe for swimming?

Water quality at Albert Street is a good indication of water quality in the river along the whole walkway.  This means it is generally safe for swimming, except during and after high levels of rainfall. 

Rain washes bacteria and sediment off streets, roads, plants and land into water which increases the health-risk and makes it look murky.  When that happens it is best to wait until it clears again and that might take at least three days of fine weather.

Water safety is a matter of special concern in this reach because there are old tree trunks and overhanging willows that pose a risk to swimmers.  Swimming at the river control works at Ruahine Street and immediately below Anzac Cliffs should be avoided.

What is Horizons doing to improve the river?
Water quality in the Manawatu River is a result of what happens in the huge catchment area upstream of it. Horizons works to improve water quality by:

  • Ensuring waste that has to go into water is properly treated to meet water quality standards
  • Monitoring water that is taken out of the river so there is enough for everyone, including the fish
  • Helping to fence off rivers and streams so stock do not get into water and contaminate it
  • Helping rural land users to stop soil eroding from hills and into water

River Accord
Industry, councils, iwi and environmentalists have made a promise to look after all the rivers in the Manawatu Catchment. It is called the Manawatu River Leaders' Accord and more information can be found here.