'Can I swim here?' launched today includes Horizons Region sites

A new ‘Can I swim here?’ online tool launched today means residents and visitors to the Horizons Region can enjoy our rivers, lakes, and beaches with confidence this summer. The online tool shows the most up-to-date water quality information for over 80 sites across our region and is freely available on LAWA.org.nz/swim.

With families now making the important decision of where to swim over the festive season, the launch is well timed. The online tool complements Horizons Regional Council’s weekly summer-season water quality monitoring which began on 1 November and runs until 3 April 2018.
Horizons science and innovation manager Abby Matthews says it’s important that the information from samples they collect is freely available to the public.
“Each week we collect samples from over 80 sites across the region and they are sent to an independent accredited lab for testing.
“We’re interested in the E.coli result as this is a human health risk. The results are shown on LAWA’s ‘Can I swim here?’ with unsafe for swimming E.coli levels marked red and good levels marked green,” says Ms Matthews.
If toxic algae, a mat-forming Cyanobacteria called Phormidium, has been tested for then this result is also shown. 
The LAWA website contains valuable information for swimmers on other swim smart things to look out for before taking a dip. This includes advice on checking if the water is clean and clear, avoiding swimming for a few days after heavy rainfall, and looking out for other possible hazards.
Horizons chief executive Michael McCartney is looking forward to using LAWA’s ‘Can I swim here’ tool this summer.
“This tool will help families get out and enjoy the stunning rivers, lakes, and beaches our region has to offer.
“The website covers popular sites such as Mangaweka, Foxton Beach, and Waihi Falls, so I recommend people thinking of heading out for a swim take a look,” says Mr McCartney.
LAWA is a partnership between regional and unitary councils, Cawthron Institute, Ministry for the Environment and Massey University and has been supported by the Tindall Foundation.