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Water Testing Results Now On ECan Web

December 10, 2007

Water testing results now on ECan web

Where is the cleanest place to swim in Canterbury? Take a look at: www.ecan.govt.nz/swimming

Every summer, Environment Canterbury monitors more than 90 coastal and freshwater swimming sites. Water samples are collected weekly by students based in Christchurch and Timaru (50-plus sites), volunteers (about 30 sites), and in Kaikoura, ECan staffer Peter Adams. ECan analyses the samples with results on its website about 48 hours after the sample is taken.

ECan water portfolio chairman Cr Mark Oldfield says the ECan water testing is a good way for people to make the connection between people's activities, the environment and resultant water quality changes. "Lots of things can affect water quality, including subdivision, or hillside clearing with resultant run-off muddying nearby water, as well as birds living along rivers, which people need to be aware of. Generally we have a good range of swimming sites in Canterbury but people may not be aware of additional risks so that is where these water quality sites are extremely helpful and ensure the community is informed and can protect their health."

Sites that have been sampled for several years are given a swimming water quality grade. Sites graded very good, good and fair are mostly fine for swimming, although even good sites may at times not be suitable, for example after heavy rainfall. Water quality is affected by sewage, rainfall, run-off from rural areas and high numbers of birds.

If the water has been tested and found to be unsuitable for swimming, signs should be posted by the district or city council and health authorities.

Sites with a very good grade for this summer include:
Gore Bay, Motunau Beach, Leithfield Beach, Waikuku Beach, Woodend Beach, Spencerville, Taylors Mistake, Diamond Harbour jetty, Pigeon Bay, Le Bons Bay, Lake Opuha at the dam boat ramp, and Lake Ruataniwha at the camping ground.

Sites with a very poor grade, unsuitable for swimming this summer include:
Humphries Drive in the Avon-Heathcote Estuary/Ihutai, Avon River at Kerrs Reach, Heathcote River at Catherine Street, Lyell Creek lagoon Kaikoura, Kaiapoi River, Waimakariri River mouth, Otukaikino Creek at the Groynes Christchurch (above and below the picnic area), and Selwyn River/Waikirikiri at Coes Ford, Central Canterbury.

Places where swimming water quality has improved since 2006 summer include:
Corsair Bay, Akaroa Main Beach, Tikao Bay, Hurunui River at State Highway 7, Pareora River at Evans Crossing, Lake Hood at Bayliss Beach, Lake Aviemore at Waitangi and Lake Clearwater below the huts.

For information, www.ecan.govt.nz/swimming or look at Eye on the Environment bottom right hand side and click open Swimming Water Quality. You then drill down into the individual sites to see how the season is progressing for weekly results.


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