Local Govt | National News Video | Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Search

 

Watch out for algae in lakes and rivers

HEALTH ADVISORY: Watch out for algae in lakes and rivers


Dr Phil Shoemack, Medical Officer of Health.

The recent spell of warm humid weather increases the chance of problems with algae in our lakes and rivers. People should always exercise their own judgement about the quality of the water they are about to swim or paddle in.

The lakes in the Rotorua district, and the rivers of the Eastern Bay of Plenty, are particularly prone to problems caused by blue-green algae (also known as cyanobacteria). Algal blooms have been a summer phenomenon in the Rotorua lakes for the past twenty years.

Significant steps have been taken to reduce the nutrient load in the lakes, but blooms were still recorded in Lakes Okaro, Rotorua, Rotoiti, and Rotoehu over different periods last summer. The only current health warning affects Lake Okaro where a bloom was first identified in November.

Similarly, some of the rivers in the Eastern Bay have been affected by algal mats and scums the past few summers. The Waimana, Whakatane, and Rangitaiki Rivers have been most problematic.

Routine water quality monitoring is conducted by Environment Bay of Plenty on a weekly basis throughout summer. Whenever a significant algal problem is detected the Medical Officer of Health issues a public warning for the relevant lake or river. However, these algal blooms can occur at any time and they can arise and then disappear between sampling events. Hence, the routine monitoring will not always pick them up.

People are advised that contact with the water affected by blue-green algae may be hazardous. Any recreational activity which is likely to involve significant contact with, or swallowing of, the water could result in health problems. The toxins produced by blue-green algae can trigger asthma and hayfever attacks in susceptible individuals, as well as causing skin rashes, tummy upsets, and even neurological effects such as tingling round the mouth, headaches, general breathing difficulties and visual problems.

Cyanobacteria often multiply to excessive levels during periods of warm, dry, sunny weather when lake and rivers levels are low. In rivers they can form extensive black or brownish slime-like mats that cling to rocks and logs. Significant clumps sometimes break off and float free, eventually collecting on vegetation at the water's edge.


People need to make their own visual assessment of the water and avoid diving in if lake water is discoloured or smelly or if black and brown algal mats are found covering large areas of a river bed. People should also avoid swimming in or drinking water that has a strange musty smell.

if in doubt, go somewhere else.

People need to take steps to prevent animals, both farm stock as well as pets, from having direct contact with the mats by keeping the animals away from the affected stretch of river. Highest risk areas tend to be shallow river margins where infants and dogs are most likely to come in contact with the mats.

© Scoop Media

 
 
 
Parliament Headlines | Politics Headlines | Regional Headlines

Gordon Campbell: On The Claims About The CPTPP

As a Tufts study usefully explained, some of the basic mechanisms of the original TPP (and the CCTPP is not radically different in this respect) would – in practice – contribute to income inequality, by further tilting the existing imbalance between those reliant on profit-taking as a source of income, and those reliant on wages...

Under the original TPP deal, the Tufts team estimated, 5,000 jobs would have been lost across New Zealand. More>>

 

Growing The Regions: Provincial Growth Fund Open For Business

The new $1 billion per annum Provincial Growth Fund has been officially launched in Gisborne today by Regional Economic Development Minister Shane Jones. ... More>>

ALSO:

22/2: Earthquake Memorial Service In Christchurch

"The theme of this year's service, 'Keeping their dreams alive" helps us look back at all that we've lost with a sense of hope and aspiration for the future,'' says the Mayor. "It also helps us to recall all those who came to our rescue and those who offered support at our time of need and what that meant to us." More>>

ALSO:

Submissions Closing: Mangroves Bill 'Designed To Bypass RMA'

Forest & Bird is releasing emails which show the Mangroves Management Bill is intended to completely override the safeguards of the Resource Management Act (RMA). More>>

ALSO:

EQC Shakeup: Chair Of Earthquake Commission Has Resigned

The Chair of the Earthquake Commission, Sir Maarten Wevers, has resigned following receipt of a letter from Minister Responsible for the Earthquake Commission, Dr Megan Woods expressing her displeasure with the performance of the Commission ... More>>

ALSO:

NZer Of the Year: Gender Pay Equity Activist, Kristine Bartlett – A Brilliant Choice

National Council of Women (NCWNZ) CEO and Gender Equal NZ Spokesperson, Dr Gill Greer says she’s delighted with news that equal pay champion, Kristine Bartlett, has been named New Zealander of the Year . More>>

ALSO:

Perceived Transparency: New Zealand #1 Least Corrupt Public Sector In The World

New Zealand's public sector is ranked the least corrupt in the world, according to Transparency International's 2017 Corruption Perceptions Index (CPI) released globally today. More>>

ALSO:

Reviews: Three-Year Work Programme For Education

The work programme includes the NCEA review, a review of Tomorrow’s Schools, developing a future-focused Education Workforce Strategy, a continuous focus on raising achievement for Māori and Pasifika learners, an action plan for learning support, an early learning strategic plan, a comprehensive review of school property. More>>

ALSO:

 
 
 
 
 

LATEST HEADLINES

  • PARLIAMENT
  • POLITICS
  • REGIONAL
 
 

Featured InfoPages