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ORC launches ‘Where do you swim?’ survey

Otago Regional Council (ORC) has launched an online survey to identify where people swim in Otago and how they rate these locations as swimming destinations. Responses to the survey will help inform which swimming sites ORC monitors and the areas that are targeted to improve water quality for swimming and water-based recreation activities.

“If you took a dip in an Otago river, lake or beach over summer, we want to know,” said ORC’s Director of Policy Planning and Resource Management, Tanya Winter.

This year has seen more people checking out LAWA’s ‘Can I Swim Here’ website, to find out water quality information prior to swimming. The online tool shows the most up-to-date water quality information for 25 sites throughout Otago.

“We want to make sure that the sites we monitor over the summer months are genuinely popular and accessible to people around the region. While we’re fairly certain that we’re monitoring the right places, recent changes to the National Policy Statement for Freshwater Management (NPSFM) provides an opportunity to check we’ve got it right. If adding a few sites will benefit communities then we will consider adding these to our monitoring network,” said Ms Winter.

Information from the survey will be complemented by aerial surveys on hot weather days during weekends. The information gathered will help ORC implement the NPSFM. “We’re looking at opportunities to improve the quality of water in rivers and lakes around the region, so the survey responses we receive will inform this work also,” she said.

“There’s no doubt about it, we’re having an ideal summer for swimming. So we’re hoping to get a strong public response to our quick and easy survey.”

Participants who complete the survey are eligible to go into the draw to win a Seaflo Kayak with paddle and lifejacket, and runner-up prizes of snorkel sets. The survey closes on 24 February, with prize winners announced in early March.

Survey website:


Land Air Water Aotearoa (LAWA) ‘Can I Swim Here?’ website:


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