Swim spot photo competition winners announced

Horizons Regional Council has announced the winners for its summer swim spot photo competition #swiminourregion.

The competition was part of the Council’s annual summer campaign to raise awareness of its role in weekly water quality monitoring at over 80 popular swim spots in the region.

Horizons chair Rachel Keedwell is pleased with this summer’s monitoring programme even though it ended early this year in mid-March 2020 due to COVID-19 restrictions.

“Our science team visited over 80 swim spots across the region each week from November 2019, with the help of Ngāti Waihua o Paerangi Trust in the Ruapehu District.

“On average swim spots in our rivers, streams and lakes were swimmable 61 per cent of the time and our beaches were on average swimmable 96 per cent of the time. The times that caution was advised or no swimming recommended could generally be attributed to factors such as elevated bacteria levels as a result of run-off during rainfall or cyanobacteria growth due to warm temperatures and low flows.

“While the sites haven’t been ‘green’ 100 per cent of the time, we’ve been able to provide information to help our communities make informed decisions on when it’s safe to swim at their favourite spot. The results, along with science and research, help inform the prioritisation of compliance action and freshwater improvement projects in the region.

“This includes working with landowners to undertake subsidised fencing and planting projects. If there are any landowners who are interested in completing fencing or planting work I encourage them to get in touch with our freshwater team on 0508 800 800.”

For the fourth year, Horizons ran a #swiminourregion photo competition, asking the public to share photos of themselves enjoying the region’s waterways. By tagging the location and using the hashtag they were in to win a water-related experience within the region.

“This year we had 95 entries, all of which were of a high quality and made picking winners pretty tricky. Horizons Chief Executive Michael McCartney, Manawatū Standard photographer David Unwin and I were pleased to be the judges,” says Ms Keedwell.

“Following last year’s trend, we’ve chosen three winners – one in first place and two second equal. Congratulations goes to Rebekah Mudford who got an awesome action shot of her son jumping into the river at Bartlett’s Ford in the Manawatū District with his friends. 

“Rachel Abbot submitted a number of gorgeous photos of her daughter at Pipriki in the Whanganui Catchment which landed her the second equal prize, along with Dai’Jhar Hillman’s shot of her son riding her shoulders at Horseshoe Bend in Horowhenua. All three have won a water-related prize within our region, with Rebekah’s worth up to $1000 and the other’s worth $250.”

Horizons’ monthly state of the environment water quality monitoring programme which tests a much wider set of parameters at over 100 sites across the region will continue throughout the year.